It wouldn’t have made one scintilla of difference had Michael Neuvirth had been the one tending goal in the playoffs in 2011—gaudy regular season record or not. There are at least two reasons for that–one of which you’ve mentioned in previous articles: The FIRST reason is the Capitals’ deplorable defense in their own end and in neutral ice.
They hang their goalies out to dry REGULARLY no matter who’s in goal because they’re one of the dumbest so-called contending teams I’ve ever seen in the 47 years that I’ve been watching hockey. I could go on forever discussing that theme but I won’t; all you have to do is watch this club for a few games and you’ll get the picture.
SECOND: Michael Neuvirth has ALWAYS had a habit of giving up soft, energy deflating goals at the worst possible times. One recent example of this is the 6-5 game he “WON” over the Red Wings four days ago–a contest that he did everything in his power, seemingly, to lose.
There were two softies he let in on the short side and another that went directly between his legs. He’s one glaring example of why I think it’s idiotic to give goalies won-lost records. After all, a goalie can do his job PERFECTLY, but until someone on his team scores a goal the best he can manage is a tie.
But if he surrenders FIVE goals, (or even more in some cases) he simply hasn’t done his job. Neuvirth seems athletic and mobile and smooth, etc, but those characteristics ought to translate into tighter netminding than what I’ve witnessed from him since he first began splitting time with Holtby and Varlamov before the latter was sent packing (perhaps regrettably) to the Avalanche.
The Caps have a whole lot of holes on their roster (and in their heads). Green is an over-rated defenseman whose main utility to this club (or any other) is on offense. But once he gets things going on offense he gets injured and he’s gone for weeks.
Then when he comes back he makes the same imbecilic errors on “D”, but everybody forgets his mistakes if happens to tally a big goal and then we’re right back where we started again. I say change him to forward (like the Sharks did with former defenseman Bret Burns) and get a stay-at-home defenseman via trade or in the draft.
And for God’s sake get several two-way players who play responsibly on BOTH sides of the puck. The Penguins, Black Hawks, Ducks, Sharks and Blues have rosters FILLED with them—and not coincidentally ALL of the aforementioned teams are GENUINE Cup contenders.
Filed under: NHL