Is a battle brewing in Washington? Not like this city is not used to it, whether sports or other topics. But the Washington Capitals recently have seemed to be above all that.
The Washington Capitals kick off their 2011-12 NHL season tomorrow night. Drama was not expected. However, late today, word leaked that Michael Neuvirth got the nab to open the season at Verizon Center. The news was shocking and surprising. Not because of pre-season stats, obviously, Neuvirth played much better, but based on comments by Bruce Boudreau himself. Boudreau has said all along, Vokoun is an elite goal tender and deserves to be treated as so, regardless of pre-season performance.
Yet, actions are a bit different.
Michale Neuvirth posted a GAA under 1.40 and save percentage over .940. Vokoun on the other hadn posted a GAA above 3.00 and a save percentage below .880. Statistcal wise, the decision is not stunning.
However, Boudreau painted himself into a corner with this issue. Let's not forget Boudreau praises for Vokoun.
Sounds like a message sent.
However, this is also the Nation's Capital. Power is power. Boudreau has the power, right now. One thing Washington DC sports fans do not like is sports agents challenging the authority of the professional structure (of course, that exempts Daniel Snyder). That fact is, the decision was made to got with the hot hand. That hot hand right now is Neuvirth. The first thing to be done is fall in line. Nobody in Washington questions the skill, stature, and ability of Tomas Vokoun. However, one thing that may be come clear is, a strong recommendation to Mr. Vokoun may be to reel in his agent. And soon.