Well now, that was some weekend of hockey, no? Seems like a good time for the first installment of "Good News, Bad News."
Good News: Michal Neuvirth won a game last night that he had no business winning.
Bad News: It was only because Chris Mason was absolutely awful.
Conclusion: Both guys were a mess. It was as though they met up before the game and agreed that neither would use opposable thumbs, and then Mason just said screw it and had the trainer put him in a straitjacket.
Good News: Neuvirth won his fifth straight last night, and is 7-1 in his last eight decisions. His 11 wins lead the NHL.
Bad News: 3.20 GAA, .895 Save% in those five wins, which doesn't even include the three goals on 14 shots in 49+ minutes against the Bruins back on November 5th because I'm too lazy to do the math. And he blew another 2+ goal lead last night.
Conclusion: He's not playing badly, I guess. But he's definitely not playing well either, and either the soft goals stop happening, or the wins do.
Good News: Braden Holtby played well Saturday in a 3-2 OT loss to Buffalo. He's shown great athleticism and quickness so far, which is excellent given how big he is and how well he fills the net.
Bad News: He and John Carlson combined to make Thomas Vanek look like Mario Lemeiux on the game-winner. The kids will play like kids sometimes...
Conclusion: Even if he doesn't get another start before Varlamov gets back, it's been a nice stint in the Show for Holtby. I think he's a ways from being an everyday NHL goaltender, but he shows that the Caps have really excellent young depth in goal. Speaking of Varly...
Good News!: Varlamov played his first game since October 21st, an 8-3 win over the Binghampton Senators. Stopped 21 or 24. I hear he looked ok. Understandably a bit rusty. Still, a positive development all things considered.
Bad News: “But I’m not ready 100 percent. I think I need to work more and more and more. I need to play more games. Yeah, I think my plan is to stay here. After the next week, we’ll see what’s going to happen.” [courtesy Tim Leone, The Patriot-News, via Japers]
Conclusion: He should take all the time he needs. Although if he were healthy, he'd have taken over last for Neuvirth last night after the 4th goal.