The Washington Times - September 12, 2007, 08:14PM

\ Side note: There hasn’t really been a definitive nickname bestowed on the Capitals new practice facility, the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington. Mike Vogel of has called the sparkling new facility The Plex on his weekly Podcast. Tarik calls it KCI on his blog. But Paul Rovnak, a member of the Caps media relations staff, and I have decided on a new one: K-Plex. I can feel it gaining momentum already.\

\ While Michal Neuvirth and Daren Machesney spent the five days getting plenty of on-ice work and instruction, the third member of Washington‘s netminder prospect trio - Simeon Varlamov - wasn’t around. He was expected to join the camp after the Canada-Russia Super Series finished up, but decided he wanted to join his Russian Super League team.\


\ Lokomotiv’s regular season has already started, so it’s understandable that he wanted to get back. If Neuvirth is sent back to Plymouth of the OHL, he is only missing exhibition games at this point. Varlamov had a great performance at the U-20 world junior tournament, but his play at the Super Series was far from stellar.\

\ “Varlamov, like a lot of the Russian players, hasn’t played well enough,” general manager George McPhee said last week. “He hasn’t had a lot of support. He played very well [last Wednesday] night in a 4-1 loss, but then he faced 26 shots in the third period. That team is just completely overmatched.”\

\ The career paths of Varlamov and Neuvirth is one of the fascinating storylines with this organization in the coming seasons. One of these guys is likely to succeed Olie Kolzig someday, and it will be interesting to which guy is first in the race to Washington. \

\ “I don’t know Simeon,” Neuvirth said. “I know he is a very good goalie and he was drafted before me. I don’t know anything about him though. I know he’s from Russia, but I don’t speak Russian and he can’t speak English yet.”\

\ These guys are far from finished products and the Caps have had Kolzig successors before that have flamed out (see: Maxime Daigneault and Maxime Ouellet). One thing is for sure, with Kolzig and Brent Johnson on the big club and Machesney, Neuvirth and Varlamov in the system, the Caps have considerable more depth between the pipes than they did a few years ago.\

\ “We’re in good shape. We have good NHL goaltenders - talented guys with experience. And we have young guys in the pipeline, and that’s the way you want it line up.”\

\ — Corey Masisak