Top-Notch Theodore is Caps Only Prayer
March 16, 2009 by Big Tony
Monday night the Washington Capitals were defeated 5-1 by the Atlanta Thrashers who, although are much improved from earlier in the season and won their sixth in a row, are way out of playoff contention. There is no doubt the Capitals have a lineup that can make a lot of noise in the playoffs with incredible talents Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, and Mike Green. They are fantastic in 5-on-5 play, absolutely dominating on the power play, and have ok penalty killing that is made to look much better because of how good the power play is. Donald Brashear gives them size and toughness which added to the rest of the equation would seem to put them in great position to make a run at the Stanley Cup… and then there’s goaltending. Jose Theodore’s numbers do not appear to be all that bad (GAA 2.81 and .902 save percentage) but he seems to give up goals in spurts and cannot manage to make the big saves consistently enough. He also has a tendency to give up some soft goals which the forces the offensive talent of the Caps to bail him out. Once their first playoff series starts the Capitals cannot afford to have Theodore go through stretches where he doesn’t make big saves, gives up soft goals, and yields goals in spurts. When those things happen it spells disaster for any team and an early exit from the playoffs no matter who they play. The bottom line is this; if Theodore can clean up his game just a bit the Capitals are a legitimate threat to not just come out of the east but to win the Stanley Cup. IF Theodore does not then the guys in front of him will be forced to carry too heavy a load and the Capitals immense talent will be wasted because of bad goaltending.
The critics have ridden Theodore all year long because of his streaky play. If Theodore can step up when it counts then all will be forgiven, but if not then the Capitals and all of their talent will be eliminated early and Theodore will more than likely be the one who gets the brunt of the punishment.