Washington Capitals: Boudreau Already Playing Goalie Games, Neuvirth to Start

Mark HillierContributor IIOctober 7, 2011

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 31:  Head coach Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals instructs players during practice for the 2011 NHL Winter Classic between the Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins on December 31, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The common wisdom is that the Washington Capitals have failed to succeed in the playoffs due to their goaltending. Tomas Vokoun is supposed to be the answer. However, it's not their goaltending that has been the problem, it's the coach.

When the Caps open up their season at home versus Carolina, as reported by Yahoo! Sports, it will be Michal Neuvirth between the pipes. Once again coach Bruce Boudreau is creating a goalie controversy where there is none, and the season hasn't even started yet.

When young, top prospect Semyon Varlamov was in town, Boudreau often preferred backup Michal Neuvirth. Granted, Varlamov had various injury problems during his time in Washington, but even when healthy he would mysteriously be relegated to the bench at the last minute.

Statistically, Varlamov was the better goalie. To his credit though, Neuvirth usually played very well when he had the chance. Unfortunately for Varlamov, when he was healthy and getting the starts, the Capitals were mired in the biggest slump of the season. No matter how well he played, the wins were few and far between.

What kind of message is Boudreau sending to Vokoun, the team and to Caps fans? Who will be the No. 1 goalie in Washington this year?