Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau keeps saying there isn’t, but what do you expect him to say? What, did you think he would just bench Jose Theodore? Not going to happen. It’s only 14 games into the season.
The Capitals had no choice but to sign Jose Theodore to a contract in the off-season after they couldn’t negotiate a deal with Cristobal Huet, who helped get the Caps to the playoffs last year after he was acquired in a late season trade. Huet left for Chicago to join the Blackhawks.
Things haven’t gone the way the Capitals had hoped for their new goaltender. He was pulled in his debut on opening night after giving up four goals in less than two periods, and it’s been up and down ever since. He’s 4-3 with a 3.44 GAA and a .877 save percentage. That’s not exactly what the Caps were looking for with their number one goalie.
So, of course, all the questions about who should be the starting goaltender for the Caps have started.
Since a November 1st game against the Buffalo Sabres during which Theodore gave up 5 goals in 5-0 loss, he hasn't touched the ice. Brent Johnson has started the last four games, going 3-1 with a 1.66 GAA, and it doesn’t look like he wants to give up the starting gig anytime soon.
Johnson hasn’t been an everyday goalie since 2001-02 with the St. Louis Blues, so this is probably exciting for him. On Sunday, Boudreau was quoted as saying, "He might (start) Monday again, but Wednesday we might have a different No. 1. I'm not into these goalie controversies. If you're playing good, you're playing good. Right now Brent is really playing well and he's in a position he hasn't been in for quite a few years. So I hope he's relishing it”.
In my opinion, whoever is playing the best at that time, which would be Brent Johnson at the moment, should get the nod each night. I also think that, unless the Caps plan to go with Johnson for the rest of the season, they better get Theodore going at some point. The more he sits on the bench, the worse his confidence gets, and that’s a not a good thing for a goaltender.
Let’s be honest, the Caps don’t stand a chance in the playoffs if they don’t have a good goalie. I’m not even sure they will make the playoffs if one of these goalies doesn’t step-up and claim the job.
Right now, it’s Johnson. He started on Monday against the Tampa Bay Lighting, and won, beating Olaf Kolzig. The same Kolzig, who started out last season as the guy in Washington, before being benched down the stretch for a hot Huet.
If he starts Wednesday night at the Carolina Hurricanes, a team the Caps are tied with in the Southeast Division, and wins, do we have a goalie controversy then?
Boudreau would probably say no.
I say yes.