Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pre-Game: Capitals vs Rangers (Game 2)

For today's preview, I'm going to run down a few quick reasons to trust (or not) the Capitals' net-minders:

Three reasons to trust Jose Theodore

  1. Playoff Experience- The "been there, done that" mindset applies here for an experienced Theodore. He's got 42 playoff games under his belt and knows what it takes to win in the playoffs. Last season, his Colorado Avalanche fell behind two games to one and came back to win three straight games to clinch the series. In 2004 with the Montreal, the Habs fell behind 2-0 and 3-1. Theodore won three straight, including posting a shutout in game seven on the road.
  2. Bounced Back- Jose has only lost back-to-back games in regulation twice since December 7th. Theodore is also 12-4 this season in games that he starts following a start in which he allows four or more goals.
  3. Home Record- Before Wednesday's loss, Jose was 4-0-1 in his last five home games. Theo's home record this season was 18-8-1, one win shy of his 2003-2004 season when he went 19-10-3 in six more games on home ice.
Three reasons to doubt Jose Theodore

  1. Playoff Trends- Sure he's never lost in the first round, but he's 4-11 in his past 15 playoff starts. Jose is also 3-6 alltime in Game 2's.
  2. Inflated Goals Against Average- Here are Theodore's regular season GAA's of the years that he's made the playoffs: 2.11 (2001), 2.27 (2004), 3.04 (2006, played five games with Colorado. With Montreal, his GAA was 3.46 in 38 games), 2.44 (2008), and 2.87 (2009). Excluding 2005 when Jose played at least 10 or more games less than every other season, his GAA is almost half a goal higher this year than last season. Compared with 2001, his GAA is .76 points higher.
  3. Over the Hill?- Ever since winning the Vezina and Hart Trophies in 2002, most would argue that his game has never been the same. He has made the playoffs four times since 2002, but he's been too inconsistent to be mentioned among the NHL's elite.
Three reasons to trust Simeon Varlamov

  1. Stats Don't Lie- In six appearances (five starts), he is 4-0-1/2.37/.918. He has allowed more than two goals in just one of those six appearances.
  2. The Future- Varlamov is supposed to be the future of this franchise. He has already proven himself in the opportunities he has been given in the NHL, so it's time to use him when it matters, in the playoffs.
  3. High-Pressure Games- Yes he is 20 (turning 21 on April 28), but he's played in games that have high importance. He spent all of last year in the KHL, even leading his team into the KHL playoffs. His first NHL start was at Montreal on Hockey Night in Canada. With all of Canada watching, he turned away 32/33 shots to help the Caps to a 2-1 victory.
Three reasons to doubt Simeon Varlamov

  1. Experience- Of the six teams he has faced, only two are in the playoffs (Montreal and St. Louis).
  2. Getting Into Rhythm- He has played two games in December, two games in March, and two games in April. Attempting to throw him in raw could have negative repercussions for the Caps.
  3. Rushing the Prospects- Sometimes it's better for the future starter to watch from the sideline as the vetern leads the team (Ex: Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre.....and NO, Theodore is not Favre, but you know what I mean). If you play your prospects too early (Ex: Alex Smith, sorry last football reference), it could hurt the prospect's progression and set the franchise back.

BallHype: hype it up!

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