Coach: Please Start Jose Theodore on Monday


Semyon Varlamov takes over for Jose Theodore (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In his last appearance in net, Jose Theodore allowed two goals on two shots and was subsequently given the hook. Russian boy wonder Semyon Varlamov stepped up and did an acceptable job (.863) in a game fraught with defensive missteps. But now that the Washington Capitals have traveled to the Canadiens’ home territory of Montreal, who should start in net?

Answer: Jose friggin’ Theodore

In short, Jose deserves our trust. He proved his mettle with shut-outs, multiple 35+ save nights, and a personal narrative too stirring to profane with description here. Our own Neil Greenberg provides the numbers to back up what we all know: Theo is a stud.

If Varlamov gets the nod from Bruce Boudreau and then struggles, we’re in real trouble. We’ll have two shaken netminders, neither buoyed by the faith of the organization. Watching the pundits on Versus, I’m not alone in this view. In fact, I’m in the auspicious company of noted hockey tactician Mike Milbury and guy-with-access-to-a-keyboard Mike Wise. Err. Regardless, I stand by it.

The core of my argument is neither statistical nor tactical. It’s moral.  Much of the Capitals’ success in the regular season is owed to Jose. Semyon Varlamov has a brilliant future, but this — right now — is Jose Theodore’s moment. He may have been shaken up mightily on Saturday night, but we know by now that he is made of sturdier stuff.


Bruce, if you know people as well as you know hockey, this is a no-brainer. Semyon Varlamov’s time will come, but we need Jose Theodore to win it all the right way.

  • Sarah

    AGREED. team theo. i’m not sure why but i trust him way more than varly to get the job done.

  • Peter Hassett

    Thanks, Sarah.

    Varly is great, but we’ve got inarguable evidence that Theo has the character to take us all the way.

  • lolwut

    doesn’t matter how he’s played over the past two months. what matters is now. the last three shots he’s faced (i’m including the goal in OT in game 1) SHOULD have been stopped. period. we’re going into the bell centre tomorrow, where he has a history of not doing so well at, and where the fans are going to be all over him, especially after allowing two goals on two shots and being pulled. if he can’t stop the first two shots in his own building, what in the world makes people think he’ll stop them in montreal? it’s absolutely STUPID to risk doing this. we owe NOTHING to jose. absolutely NOTHING. he’s a goaltender who did what we’re paying him to do: stop shots. he’s not doing that anymore. i’d rather win this series than lose it because the fans and the coach “don’t want to hurt his feelings”. holy lord.

  • I completely disagree. I’d much rather have Varly starting in Montreal – where Theo has never done well and will be taunted mercilessly – but you know what? Shame on me. I was too busy watching Bridget Jones’s diary with Ashley to defend my comrade! But what do you guys think? Is Peter on target here? Do you feel good that’s he on the same side of the coin as Mike Wise?

  • Peter Hassett


    Thanks for your opinion and your LIBERAL USE OF CAPS LOCK.

    Do you agree that Theo’s guilt in those three goals is at least mitigated by failures in the Caps defense?

    Again, my argument isn’t tactical, but let’s give that some credence now anyway. Varlamov hasn’t been his old self since December. He’s had flashes of greatness, but I think it’s unwise to expect the April ’09 Varly.

    And on the “STUPID” comment, I have to part ways with you on both decorum and sentiment. It’s a good investment to trust a guy like Jose Theodore. The systemic defensive problems of the Caps’ offensive systems have led to Jose getting fed to the wolves dozens of times this year, and he’s held up magnificently.

    Jose’s heading to his old digs. He’ll rise to the challenge, just like he has all season.

    Even though we disagree, thanks for sharing. I can tell that care an awful lot about this team, and on that point we’re in total agreement.

  • Peter Hassett

    @Russian Machine Never Breaks

    Bridget Jones’ Diary was a terrible choice for a movie. You should have gone with The Notebook, which has a much better track record at your girlfriend’s apartment.

    Shame on you for your poor decision.

  • hahahahahaha. It’s all she had? Oh man, so embarassed. No excuses on that one.

  • jenna

    I’m on Team Theo, so hooray for this post, lol. Show Theo we have confidence in him and he’ll get us through. It’s not about owing him, or not wanting to hurt his feelings, it’s about the way he’s played for us all year, and what he can do if we just give him the chance.

    Also, he’s my favorite. So that helps my decision 😉

  • lolwut

    @ Peter

    LOL. yeah, i was trying to put emphasis on certain words. some people put a * on both sides of word to do it (ig: *stupid*) but i prefer to just hit one key. 😛

    i don’t think anyone’s truly expecting the “old varly”, which is pretty pathetic we’re saying “the old varly” when he’s only 21 years old, which goes to show how good he *can* (LOL) be at such a young age. all i ask out of varlamov is to make saves that can and should be made.

    hockey has goaltenders for a reason. he’s going to face shots whether they’re easy shots or difficult shots to stop. we’re going to have defensive breakdowns, which is going to lead to a scoring chance, which is going to lead to the goalie having to make a save. again, the last 3 shots he’s faced were shots that i could make with my eyes closed, even if the D did make a bad turnover, your goaltender has to bail you out. he has to. i’m all for blaming the defense seeing as how i hate bruce’s system, but there are no excuses for the last 3 goals he’s let in. i’m thankful for all theodore has done for us, and i truly wish him the best in his future endeavors, but his time as a cap is up.

  • Melissa

    @Russian machine

    Bridget Jones 1 or 2… 2 is infinitely better.

    And I agree… I’m going to chalk Game 2 up to a bad day and hope Theo pulls and Ovi and “forget that game” and has an epic comeback. However, it makes me less stressed knowing that our back up can be lights out as well!!

  • Hittman

    Let’s face it: the last three goals Theo let in were not his fault. #1 was the fault of the Caps D for letting Plekanec rip a slapshot from the slot in OT without even getting a GD stick on it. #2 was both a great shot by Gionta and a knuckler as BB stated. Plus, players score goals sometimes too, just as goalies make saves when a goal should be scored, players score when a save should be made. And #3, again, was a free shot with two d standing around with thumbs up asses in the slot. I blame Theo for 12% of these goals, Mike Green for 38%, and the other 50% blame goes to Bruce Boudreau for allowing his team to stand around like a bunch of 9th grade gossips in their own zone. Notice how when the Caps shoot the puck it gets blocked half the time? Notice how when other teams shoot the puck it goes right on net? BLOCK SHOTS!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!

  • Kevin M.

    @Hittman: You’re #3 is right on the money, as well as your concluding statements. I about threw up when I saw that goal framed nicely BETWEEN #52 and #55. Almost as if both of them said, “Not it!”

  • Peter

    @Kevin and @Hittman, good points both of you.

    The blocked shots disparity between WSH and MTL is embarrassing. Not only are the Caps not blocking, they’re giving the ‘Nads open ice to take those shots.

    But it’s not just the D! The forwards have been waiting at center ice for setups, which explains both the paucity of red sweaters in the zone and Tom Poti’s reticence to clear the puck with a mighty whack. He’s trying to give a nice stretch pass and creating a turnover instead.

    Here ends my dilettante hockey analysis.

  • OK, our readers/writers now is two groups: Varly fans vs Theo fans.
    My opinion is that guy who play better NOW should play. Varly does, so now he’s #1 in my opinion.
    Everyone says that Theo may lose his momentum then, but if he’ll play and will play bad, Varly can lose his. Varly now on top.
    – Fedor

  • Rockin’ the Red in VA

    Washington post is reportin Varly left the ice first this morning at practice. Indicating he (Varly) is going to get the nod tonight. C-A-P-S, Caps! Caps! Caps!

  • sarah d

    I completely agree with this post. I love varly, I have faith in varly, and I know he’s done well in montreal, but I think theo deserves our trust and support here.

  • BobbyG

    RMNB, I had my doubts but you were right on the money picking Varly to start tonight. Whether he gets the nod again in game 4 remains to be seen, but Coach BB looked like a soothsayer with his goalie pick and new line combinations. If the Caps can put together two more games like this one, it will be coming up (RED) roses in Capitals Nation.

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