Vokoun vs. Neuvirth: Do the Caps Have a Goalie Controversy?

Here to peer between the pipes is Caps Correspondent Adam Vingan.

Last night the Caps outlasted the Lightning 6-5 in a thrilling shootout victory. The real story, however, was the play of Tomas Vokoun, who made his regular-season debut in less-than-stellar fashion by allowing five goals on 28 shots. Vokoun called it his worst game in five years and said that the Caps “literally won today without goaltending.”

For someone who was appointed as the starter upon arrival in July, Vokoun looked nothing like a No. 1 goalie. Meanwhile, Michal Neuvirth made 28 saves on 31 shots in Saturday’s 4-3 overtime win over the Hurricanes, leaving many to think that the Caps have a goalie controversy on their hands.

There really isn’t a right or wrong answer when it comes to this “dilemma,” but perhaps taking a look at the five goals Vokoun allowed would make things more clear. Below are all five goals that the Lightning scored. How many is Vokoun at fault for? Does Neuvirth have a case for the No. 1 spot?

5 thoughts on “Vokoun vs. Neuvirth: Do the Caps Have a Goalie Controversy?”

  1. In a word, yes. But unlike having a QB controversy, it’s not a total clusterfuck to split time throughout the season. Knowing how BB likes to ride the hot hand, that’s what will happen. I see Neuvirth coming into his own this season, motivated by Vokoun’s presence, Holtby lurking, and $$$. My guess is a close to 50-50 split.

    It only becomes a REAL controversy come springtime.

  2. The second and fifth goals are on Vokoun completely. He has to cover the post better there.

    The others aren’t his fault. The first went off Green, the third was a roof shot by Dominic Moore (who is the new Jon Sim) and the fourth was a great tip by Thompson.

    Vokoun came up big in OT and the shootout when it mattered.

    All in all, yeah, I think Neuvirth is probably going to get more starts than presumed, but I still think Vokoun is the #1 guy, and it’ll never hurt, especially when the season is winding down, for Neuvy to get in some games and give Vokes a rest.

  3. The controversy isn’t whether Vokoun should be the lead goalie versus whether Neuvirth should be the main man. The issue all along in my mind was why Bubblehead Boudreau ignored Braden Holtby (his BEST goaltender last year)in favor of Nervous Neuvirth who has a bad habit of letting in at least one soft goal per game–just like he did in the season opener. Now it just so happens that the heir apparent let in THREE softies in his debut against Tampa the night before last. THAT, and the fact that he’s going to be 35 years old this season, argues against him being the long term solution to the Caps’ perennial problems in the crease. And–not to rub it in– but I notice that 21 year old Semyon Varlamov pitched a shutout in his debut with the Avalanche two nights ago. The guy has star quality written all over him. And while Semyon let in soft goals too during his brief stay with the Caps, at his age and with his talent I’d be inclined to wink at his weaknesses as he matures and gets better. Personally I would have given up Neuvirth for a rock-ribbed stay-at-home defenseman instead of giving up on a future star like Semyon. But hey, what do I know?? And to all of the foregoing I might add that Washington looks just as dumb and disorganized on defense as they have at any point on defense during the last 8 years.

    Boy. McPhee and Boudreau make quite a pair, don’t they??

    Santa Monica, Ca

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