Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Season update

Sorry to all the followers, I have been intensely busy lately with the Holiday's quickly approaching. Here is the low down on the Capitals right now.

Alexander Semin did not make the trip to Philadelphia for tonight's game as he has re-aggrivated his back injury in Thursday nights game. St. Louis forward David Backes delivered a cross check to the small of Semin's back mid-way through the third period, and he did not return to the game.

Simeon Varlamov has been returned to Hershey after two solid games between the pipes for the Capitals. Varlamov owns a 12-3-0 record since coming to North America, and with his brief stint in Washington, seems to have accelerated his development level, and could be NHL ready as soon as next year.

Continuing in that vein, there are three methods that would allow Varlamov to play in the NHL next year. Firstly, Brent Johnson's contract is up at the end of this year, so there is the option to not pick it up and spell Varlamov in his place next season. Secondly, they could buy out the remainder of Jose Theodore's 4.5 million dollar contract (which would be paid out over two years). Finally, they could pay Jose his 4.5 million as he plays in the minors for Hershey.

I'm not sure how probable any of these scenarios actually are, in my mind they are best to re-sign Johnson and ride out the last year of Theodore's contract, unless they are positive that Varlamov has what it takes to win a Stanley Cup at 21 years of age.

The last point I want to make is that the Capitals are in the midst of a five game win streak, and just reached their 20th victory of the season. I have noticed that they haven't really received full credit for their accomplishments to date and that teams like Boston, Pittsburgh, New York and Montreal are getting a lot more air time.

Here's an interesting tidbit for you:

If Washington beats Philadelphia tonight they will be the only team of the Big Seven (NYR, NJ, PIT, PHI, BOS, MTL, WSH) to hold wins of each of the other teams.

Boston: 2-2-2 with 2 wins over MTL (has not played PHI or NJ)
Montreal: 4-4-2 with 2 wins over PHI; 1 over NYR, BOS (has not played PIT)
New Jersey: 7-5-1 with 2 wins over WSH, PIT; 1 over NYR, MON, PHI (has not played BOS)
New York Rangers: 6-3-0 with 2 wins over PIT, NJ; 1 over PHI, BOS
Philadelphia: 4-3-3 with 2 wins over NJ; 1 over MTL, PIT (has not played WSH or BOS)
Pittsburgh: 4-3-3 with 2 wins over PHI; 1 win over BOS, NYR (has not played MTL)
Washington: 6-0-2 with 2 wins over MTL; 1 win over BOS, NJ, NYR, PIT (has not played PHI)

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