Boudreau: Theodore is No. 1 goalie

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Among conversation with Bruce Boudreau about new goaltending coach Arturs Irbe, the Caps coach called Jose Theodore his No. 1 goalie going into camp despite Semyon Varlamov’s playoff performance.

“Right now Jose’s the No. 1 guy, and the other two young men [Varlamov and Michal Neuvrith] have got to come in and play the way they did last year and try to push him out,” Boudreau said. “Jose won [32] games for us last year, and like the year before when Cristobal [Huet] got hot down the stretch, Varly came in and did a great job where we just couldn’t take him out.

“But that was 13 games, it doesn’t make up for 12 years of experience. I’ve seen an awful lot of goalies come in and do great at a young age and then go into a slump for a year or two. I think Jose has earned and deserves the right to start out as the No. 1 guy.”

Theodore went 32-17-5 with a 2.87 goals-against average in the regular season. He is scheduled to make $4.5 million this season.

Varlamov replaced Theodore in Game 2 of the first-round series against the Rangers, going 7-6 with a 2.53 GAA against New York and Pittsburgh.

Theodore was working out at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Thursday and said he is on good terms with Boudreau and Varlamov.

“Theres always that extra pressure that, yes, in the season I was the No. 1 guy, but the fun time of year is in the playoffs and I didn’t play,” Theodore said. “I still keep that in the back of my mind to work extra hard.

“Like I said last year at the end of the playoffs, there’s no doubt that Varly and Neuvirth are the goalies of the future,” Theodore said. “They’re great goalies, but for myself, if you look at the season out of 82 games I still played [57] and I think a pretty good record, pretty consistent towards the end. I didn’t see myself as a backup. …

“We all know in hockey the title of No. 1 is only a title; it’s still on the ice that you have to earn your points. I just wanna play up to the level that I can and then from there things usually fall into place.”

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