Blog Entry

Neuvirth to start Capitals opener, not Vokoun

Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:44 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 4:03 pm

By Brian Stubits

Perhaps the biggest of the Capitals offseason acquisition was the steal of Tomas Vokoun for only $1.5 million. So naturally he's starting the season opener, right? Wrong.

The Capitals threw a minor curveball on Friday by announcing that Michal Neuvirth, not Vokoun, will start the season opener Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

"I just found out after practice, and, yeah, I was a little surprised," Neuvirth said after Friday's practice. "I think I had a great training camp and had very good preseason games and probably that's why I'm playing tomorrow."

The news was actually broken by Vokoun himself. When asked if he was at all nervous about Friday's game, he responded honestly.

“No, I'm not really nervous because I'm not playing,” Vokoun said. “Supposedly I'm going to play the next game.

"Certainly, it's a surprise," Vokoun told CSN Washington. "It's not my decision. Sometimes you like [those decisions], sometimes you don't like them. We haven't even played a game yet, so it's premature to be upset. It's not a good feeling, but I've played hockey for 30 years. Things happen."

He says he's not upset about it yet, but it seems clear he's not happy.

Since the Caps signed Vokoun, coach Bruce Boudreau has made no bones about it: Vokoun is his starting goaltender. Neuvirth took a majority of the starts last year, splitting the duties with Semyon Varlamov, now with the Avalanche. But Vokoun has experience, a history of success -- but not in the playoffs -- and the endorsement from management on his side.

Dare we say this is the beginning of a controversy in Washington? It's still too early to answer that question. But it certainly seems unusual to start your backup goalie on opening night ... at home no less. Not the best way to start the relationship with Vokoun for Boudreau.

Neuvirth did play very well this preseason, going 2-1-0 with a .949 save percentage and 1.35 goals against average and perhaps Boudreau is just honoring for that. But that won't quiet the questions.

Bombshell? Not exactly. But surprising? For that it qualifies.

Photo: Getty Images

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 15, 2011 4:18 pm
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Since: Feb 12, 2008
Posted on: October 8, 2011 8:05 pm

Neuvirth to start Capitals opener, not Vokoun

you all crack me up. 

Since: Feb 26, 2010
Posted on: October 8, 2011 6:53 pm

Neuvirth to start Capitals opener, not Vokoun

Tougher games coming up in the next week; this is a great way to let Neuvirth know he is the future of the Capitals.  If Vokoun doesn't start against the Lightning, then this may be something to talk about.

little ceasars
Since: Jan 1, 2009
Posted on: October 8, 2011 4:55 pm
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Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: October 8, 2011 1:32 pm

Neuvirth to start Capitals opener, not Vokoun

Tomas Vokoun: Regular Season Average since 95-Present-Career SV % of .917. International: 96-Present of 46 games .929. Rothlis07burg your point isn't Valid cause reality speaks Vokoun hasn't had much Post Season experience. Does that matter? No I don't believe it does but is it helpful to have it? No/Yes! It's all about mental preparation. It makes sense to start Neuvirth only cause of his strong preseason play, give him a game or 2 to showcase he's worth being a starter splitting time. Both are Hungry to get the Starting Gig. Vokoun's 4 years in a Florida Panthers Uniform is thankfully over. He's the reason they won games but he never had support Defensively. In past Florida Panther's Uniforms: 2007-2010/4 Seasons Tomas Vokoun 2.56 GAA, SV% .923, Average: Facing 32-33 Shots a Game, Roberto Luongo since 2001-2005/5 Seasons in a Florida Uniform he Averaged 2.66 GAA, SV% .919 Average: Facing 31-32 Shots a Game , Craig Anderson limited as a Backup to Tomas Vokoun but his role was outstanding as well. I think with Vokoun's experience over the years surpass even the greats of Martin Brodeur, Ryan Miller, Ilya Brygalov, Roberto Luongo, Pekka Rinne, Jonathan Quick, Henrik Lundqvist, Miika Kiprusoff & Tim Thomas for what he has had for Defenses. Even the Defenses in Nashville weren't the greatest at that time he was with them. He just never get the notority for what he's done. An excellent pick up for 1.5 million, a steal but as you can see he's playing for a contract after this year so the Capitols better use him up while they still have him for trade bait, Neuvirth is already a good starter but under Vokoun he'll learn more as their main stay full time goalie in the future. Smart move for the Caps but if I was them I'd build Vokoun up for trade before trade deadline. They need to trade Alexander Semin as well. The Caps are Loaded w/talent in Forwards/Defense/Young Backup Goalie, get younger blood that compliments Semin/Vokoun for cheaper Draft picks or whatever is displayed

Since: May 15, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2011 9:40 pm

Neuvirth to start Capitals opener, not Vokoun

trade him to my oilers............he'll get the start guaranteed time for sunday!  and perhaps the oil can make a run this year! bad move on bourdreau's part.......just what the caps need.........pis s off your top goalie!

Since: Apr 30, 2007
Posted on: October 7, 2011 3:45 pm

Neuvirth to start Capitals opener, not Vokoun

When did Vokoun ever lead the league in save %? 

And it makes sense to stat Neuvirth early on in the season. Vokoun needs to stay rested for the playoffs, the whole reason they got him. 

Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: October 7, 2011 3:18 pm

Neuvirth to start Capitals opener, not Vokoun

eh, I think Neuvirth could be a good or serviceable starting goalie one day, Terfra. Don't get too down on him. Still, they got Vokoun to raise the Cup! The defense improved, so he was the last piece! Wow. I'm stunned. I wouldn't want a resentful Vokoun. Goalies are strange creatures in general. That goes for all sports in which they take a part. You gotta tiptoe around these guys and keep things on an even keel or you never know what'll happen in their heads.

Since: Jan 18, 2009
Posted on: October 7, 2011 3:07 pm

Neuvirth to start Capitals opener, not Vokoun

I don't care what Boudreau's reasoning is, this is definitely a slap in the face to Vokoun. Who is supposedly deemed your starting and franchise goaltender, and took a considerable pay cut to play for your team, good luck signing him next season... Boudreau is an idiot, and why the Caps will never win the cup...

Since: Nov 26, 2006
Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:45 pm

Neuvirth to start Capitals opener, not Vokoun

Especially with defensemen that like to jump up in the rush in all circumstances!

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