Bruce Boudreau’s aggressive, offensive-minded philosophy can be tough on his goaltenders, forcing them to face quality scoring chances if the other five players aren’t in sync.
New Washington Capitals netminder Jose Theodore is up for the challenge.
“Yeah, I am aware of that,” Theodore said. “It just means more highlight saves for me, I guess. That’s good. I think in Colorado - not when we had the injuries - but we were pretty offensive with [Joe] Sakic, [Peter] Forsberg and [Milan] Hejduk.”
The Caps introduced Theodore, who signed a two-year, $9 million contract July 1, to area media Thursday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington.
The 31-year-old had a bounce-back season for Colorado last year. After a pair of down seasons in which he was traded by the Montreal Canadiens and then lost the starting job with the Avalanche, Theodore went 28-21-3 with a 2.44 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage.
Theodore credits Avalanche goalies coach Jeff Hackett, a former teammate, with helping him turn his career around.
“He saw me play in Montreal,” the 2002 Hart Trophy winner said. “He saw what I was capable of. Sometimes as a player you can forget what you are able to do. He wasn’t satisfied easily. He was pushing me back to the level he thought I should be at.”
Washington is Theodore’s third team in four years, and he’s the Caps’ third No. 1 netminder in less than six months. Theodore said he was drawn to the District for the chance to play with Alex Ovechkin and a young team on the rise.
“They have the best player in the league, first of all,” Theodore said. “I was watching them the past couple of years and I saw them progress so well. When I saw that things weren’t getting done with Cristobal [Huet], I knew there was going to be an opening so I didn’t want to sign too quickly with Denver. Then I just waited for the spot, and that was my first choice.”
Right wing Eric Fehr accepted his qualifying offer Thursday and is under contract for next season. It is a two-way deal worth $735,000 if he spends the whole season with the Caps.
Fehr, who missed nearly a full year of development time because of a lower back/hip injury, had one goal and six points in 23 games last season. The 2003 first-round pick has long been considered one of the team’s top prospects.
“We have high hopes for Eric,” Caps general manager George McPhee said. “This is a big year for him. We knew there would be some development time for him and he had an injury that set him back, but this could be a year where he comes through and scores some goals for us.”
Talking Tampa Bay
A few days ago, one of the new owners of the Tampa Bay Lightning - former NHL player Len Barrie - told the St. Petersburg Times he expects his team to win the Southeast Division. Apparently Boudreau found out about it.
“Well, we just hope to be in second place because Tampa said they’re going to win the division,” the Caps coach said. “If we play good enough to get to second place, we’ll be happy.”
Meanwhile, McPhee was asked whether he had talked to former Caps goalie Olie Kolzig since the end of the season. Kolzig signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay for this season.
“I called him, but he didn’t return the call,” McPhee said. “It didn’t have to be that way, but that’s the way it went.”