- This might be the last we see of Semyon Varlamov for a little while (Photo: Associated Press)
UPDATE- 2:05 P.M.- The Capitals have placed Varlamov on injured reserve retroactive to September 22, when he made his last appearance. He can be reactivated at any time. The Capitals have now reached the maximum of 23 active players allowed to be on their opening night roster.
Until Varlamov is recalled, Michal Neuvirth will be the Capitals starting goalie, with Dany Sabourin the backup.
ORIGINAL STORY: The Capitals might have a goaltending crisis on their hands with the start of the regular season 48 hours away.
It had been previously assumed that third goaltender Dany Sabourin would be the final cut as the Capitals approached today's 3 p.m. deadline to finalize their 23-man Opening Night roster. But goaltender Semyon Varlamov has been struggling with an undisclosed injury, playing only 30 minutes of one preseason game. Varlamov stopped all 20 shots he faced in Washington's preseason-opening 6-2 win over Columbus September 22, but has not played since. He was a last minute scratch from the September 28 preseason home opener against Boston, and had not practiced with the team from that day until Tuesday at Kettler.
It seems all but a certainty that Michal Neuvirth will start Friday night's season opener at Atlanta. Now the question is whether Varlamov will be able to go in Saturday's home opener against the New Jersey Devils.
"I doubt it, right now." Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau said when asked if Varlamov could start on Saturday. "But we'll see how tomorrow's practice goes and we'll see how he does." Boudreau also said Varlamov will travel with the team with Atlanta, which is significant.
NHL rules require the Capitals to carry two goaltenders on their active roster. The Capitals can not take three goaltenders to Atlanta with them unless one of them is placed on injured reserve. Players can be placed on injured reserve retroactively though the beginning of the preseason and can not play for at least seven days from the retroactive date.
"We might have to put someone on IR," Boudreau said after today's practice, in which all three goalies participated. "That decision hasn't been made yet. A lot depends on how Neuvirth plays Friday night."
All this means that Sabourin, who many considered an afterthought during training camp, could well have a spot on the Capitals active roster. We'll know more by 3 p.m. this afternoon.