During Saturday’s 1-0 loss to the New York Rangers, Jose Theodore found himself in a unique spot.
On the bench for a playoff game.
Replaced in the Washington Capitals’ net by rookie Simeon Varlamov for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, Theodore was caught off guard by coach Bruce Boudreau’s decision.
“I didn’t see that coming, to be honest,” he said Sunday after the Caps’ optional practice. “One thing through my career that nobody can take away is that I was always a fighter and always [able] to bounce back from challenges. And to me, [Game 1] was a big challenge. I didn’t have the chance to bounce back because I didn’t play, but I was really supportive of Simeon.”
Theodore gave up four goals on 21 shots in a 4-3 loss in Game 1 but was under the assumption that Boudreau wouldn’t make such a bold move after only one loss.
“I wanted to play and I thought I would play, but if there’s anger, I want to keep it inside because I don’t want to be a distraction for my teammates,” Theodore said. “For sure, I want to play. You work hard to play in the playoffs and to bounce back when the challenge is there.”
Said Boudreau: “When he goes in again, he’s going to be fine. He has rebounded [before]. Sometimes players get in ruts, and it’s better to sit a game or two to watch and that refocuses you.”
Theodore had played in his team’s previous 43 playoff games, posting an 18-25 record. Although Boudreau would not reveal his starter for Monday’s Game 3, Varlamov figures to have earned another chance.
Theodore vowed to be ready if called upon.
“For me, it still could be a long series,” he said. “So many years, you look at Carolina and so many different situations where both goalies had a chance to play and the team still made it a long way. I’ll work hard and get ready and be supportive of my teammates.”
Boudreau disagreed that the Caps’ five minor penalties in Game 2 mean his team is lacking discipline.
“Go back and look at [the penalties] and see how many were deserved, and then you’ll find out there wasn’t much of a disciplinary problem,” he said. “I am frustrated [by the officiating]. [The Rangers] talk about the refereeing, and then all of a sudden [we] don’t get a power play for 40 minutes, and the one finally called on them… it wasn’t much of a call.”
Terry Gregson is the officiating supervisor for the series, and he did speak to Boudreau.
“He asked if I wanted to meet, and I said it wasn’t necessary, but I wanted his opinion on something,” Boudreau said.
Boudreau said captain Chris Clark (wrist) remains seven to 10 days away from returning. But one lineup change could be the addition of wing Donald Brashear, a healthy scratch for the series’ first two games. He hasn’t played since spraining his right knee March 10 at Nashville.
“He’s hungry to play like I would expect everybody wants to play,” Boudreau said. “We’ve got to put a lineup in that we think is best suited to win the game - whether Brash is part of it or not.”
Defenseman Jeff Schultz remains day-to-day, so Brian Pothier is likely to stay in the lineup.