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 Simeon Varlamov; Washington's Ward Allow Anonymous Users Reply to This Topic...
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Posted - 04/29/2009 :  12:13:53  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In the 2005-06 playoffs, a former first-round rookie named Cam Ward for the Carolina Hurricanes took over the starting role in the opening round already down 2-0 to the Montreal Canadiens. He promptly backstopped the 'Canes to four straight wins to help them reach the second round. Ward went on to victory in another 12 games to win the Stanley Cup and capture the Conn Smythe trophy, the first time a rookie goalie had won this award since Ron Hextall did it back in 1987. He hasn't looked back since.

Washington is hoping that their own rookie netminder will follow this same path and help them find success in the 2008-09 playoffs, but its the long-term that the Capitals are smiling about.

For far too long, the Capitals have been without that dynamic dimension in the blue paint – sometime back when Olaf Kolzig was at the height of his career; around 1999-2000. The team that Washington has now put together has the ability to score from all across the ice, but their up-tempo offensive style of play will often hang their tender out to dry. With a goalie that they can put their confidence in, this team has the ability to be very successful for a very long time.

Simeon Varlamov was drafted 23rd overall in the 2006 draft (Ward was drafted 25th overall four years earlier) and wouldn't arrive in a North American arena until he joined the Hershey Bears this year. He put together a 19-7-1 record for the Capitals' AHL affiliate, but its the impact he made when he joined the parent club that is getting him his notice. Two shutout wins in the opening series and a huge Game 7 victory now sees Varlamov and the Caps move onto a second-round date with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins. How the rookie netminder holds himself against two of the elite players in the NHL (and the supporting cast) will go a long way in establishing his legend.

From a fantasy standpoint, owners should be looking at the 2009-10 starting goalie, but Jose Theodore is carrying a $4.5 million contract for next season. Varlamov will most definitely be getting NHL time at the very least as a 30-game backup, but there are two little words that could thrust the Russian into the spotlight; “Buy Out”.

Musings...

-Cody Hodgson was named the OHL’s most outstanding player, beating out John Tavares for the honours. The Vancouver Canucks draft pick should be considered a strong bet to make the NHL club next season.

-Is anyone else tired of hearing the words Sean and Avery?

-For those of you who bought our playoff pool draft guide, good job! That means you likely stayed away from drafting Joe Thornton in your pool as it was highlighted several times throughout that he simply does not show up when the going gets tough. I wonder if these playoffs have loosened up his grip on a roster spot for Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver? It’s incredible that I even have to ask that question.

- John Tortorella could not squeeze any offense out of the New York Rangers afterall. I originally thought that his more up-tempo style of play would allow the Rangers forwards some more freedom to be creative with the puck, but ultimately it appears that the team simply lacks heart and character.


Ray Irwin writes for www.SchoolYourPool.com, the most complete fantasy hockey advice website on the internet. Featuring player and prospect rankings and interviews, daily starting goalies, buy low/sell high, injury reports, goalie carousel, and lots more...come on over to www.schoolyourpool.com and Get Educated!

Get your Playoff Fantasy Guide for only $9.99 at http://www.pickuphockey.com/hp/hp_fantasyguide.aspx

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