The 1 Issue With The Washington Capitals' Stanley Cup Dreams

Svyato RovenchukSenior Writer IApril 22, 2010

WASHINGTON - APRIL 17: Semyon Varlamov #40 (R) of the Washington Capitals takes over goaltender duties from Jose Theodore #60 (L) in the first period of their game against the Montreal Canadiens in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center on April 17, 2010 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It’s happening all over again. Theodore is once again showing us what I already knew, he is not the goalie that is going to carry Washington to the Stanley Cup. Last year Theodore was struggling in Washington’s first round series. This year, it’s no different. Jose Theodore was shaky early on in the series for Washington and it has resulted to Washington once again leaning towards the young backup, Semyon Varlamov.

First off, guys just look at the Washington Capitals squad. You got so much talent on that team that it’s a shame to see them just go out early. I mean Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin, Mike Green are just a few big names on the Washington team.

From one look at the Washington team, right away you think, Stanley Cup Champions. However, something is holding them back or rather, someone. Jose Theodore was great in the regular season for Washington, but for some reason he can not carry that over into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Is it playoff nerves? If it is then you got to get him out from between the pipes without hesitation.

Anyone who gets nervous in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is never going to help the team’s Cup chances, especially if that person is your starting goalie.

The Capitals seem to have given the ball back to Semyon Varlamov when it comes to goaltending for the Capitals. And let me be the first the say, thank heavens. When Varlamov came in last year for Washington he did great. He managed to get them through what looked like a nightmare of a first round where Theodore was getting abused by the opposing team. He would lost to Pittsburgh, but his efforts would not be forgotten.

When it comes to the Varlamov/Theodore situation, I have no idea why Varlamov isn’t already a full time starter for the Washington Capitals. He rose to the challenge in the playoffs and after that I thought for sure he would take over for Theodore as the starter. He did not, instead he continued to be a back up for the Capitals.

Well Theodore is choking once more and you have to turn to Varlamov, again. Honestly, you can see that Theodore is not the starter you need in net already, give it to Semyon. What? Are you going to keep playing Theodore in the regular season only to switch out Varlamov out in the playoffs?

Before I go ahead of myself and start talking about the regular season of 10-11, let’s focus on the present.

The Washington Capitals have a 3-1 strangle hold on the series with the Montreal Canadiens. After dropping the first game due to Theodore related issues, Washington has came back winning three straight with the scores of 6-5, 5-1 and 6-3. Want to know something about those three games that will interest you? Semyon Varlamov has been the winner of all three. This is once again reassuring that Varlamov, unlike Theodore, is capable of carrying the Washington Capitals and being the starting netminder for the Capitals.

And with Varlamov starting there should be no excuses made about Washington’s play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Washington captain, Alexander Ovechkin is doing really well this playoff season. At this point in time he is 3rd when it comes to points in the playoffs, behind rival, Sidney Crosby and teammate, Nicklas Backstrom. Ovechkin is showing he can be a clutch player for Washington when they need it. In that game against Montreal where they had to come back and win it 6-5, guess who was the man the started the come back for the Capitals. If you guessed Alexander Ovechkin, you are correct.

As I just mentioned, Nicklas Backstrom is 2nd in playoff scoring this year. Backstrom is really starting to establish himself as a dangerous player, only problem is, he’s playing in the shadow of The Great 8, Alexander Ovechkin. It’s a lot like the story in Pittsburgh and Evgeni Malkin. Malkin himself is a tremendous player, but playing in the shadow of Sidney Crosby doesn’t do him justice, especially when you are a player of Malkin’s talent. Backstrom seems to be in the same position with Alexander Ovechkin, but here is the big thing.

Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby won a cup already, how long is it until the pairing of Backstrom and Ovechkin win the Stanley Cup? Could be sooner than you expect. Hell, could even be this year if everything goes right.

In the end though, it all comes back to who’s between the pipes for your team. Take the Chicago Blackhawks this year, for example. The Chicago Blackhawks are a superb team, one many considered favourites to win the cup, but with Antti Niemi starting for them, they find themselves down 2-1 in the series with Nashville. You look at their squad and see all the great talent like Duncan Keith, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane and others, but because of Niemi they may find themselves on the losing end of things with Nashville.

Same can be said for the Capitals. Amazing squad, plenty of talent, but if Jose Theodore gets the nod in net they won’t be going anywhere. If Theodore gets the nod again this is what you will likely see early on in the hockey game…

Jose Theodore and Semyon Varlamov

Theodore getting pulled in favour of Semyon Varlamov

Unless everything possible goes wrong for the Capitals at this point, they will likely be heading on to the second round. There they will meet Philadelphia (up 3-1 in the series, I got my money on them pulling through to the second round) and that is a team Washington should be able to beat. They have a goalie that Washington could pick apart easily, but if their own netminder isn’t solid then they will be losing the games and maybe even the series.

So for the sake of the Capitals actually going somewhere this year and next yer, hell any year, give Semyon Varlamov the starting job in net for the Washington Capitals, PERMANENTLY!

This article was originally posted on  The Sports Dossier  under the name "The 1 Issue With The Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup Dreams." Check out more great pieces from our talented staff of writers.

If you're a writer who thinks they have what it takes to write about NHL, NBA, MLB, MMA, NFL, World Football, Pro Wrestling and more, then apply to TSD . Email me at and we'll talk business.