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Posted at 01:11 PM ET, 01/19/2011

Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau: Goaltender durability 'always' a concern

It's been a rare occurrence this season when both Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov have been healthy, allowing the Capitals to split time freely between the pair of 22-year-old netminders.

In the middle of a three-game, week-long road trip the injuries continued as Neuvirth, who was unable to finish Tuesday's game against the Flyers because of an undisclosed lower-body injury, was sent back to Washington for further evaluation. "It's still day-to-day, as far as we know," coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Varlamov, meantime, was given a maintenance day but Boudreau indicated that he is hopeful the Russian to be able to suit up against the Islanders on Thursday.

"I think it'd be a concern even if they were both healthy all the time," Boudreau said of the goaltenders' ability to stay healthy. "Every coach is always concerned about the goaltender's durability. They're even concerned when [Martin] Brodeur was healthy, what if he gets hurt? It is what it is.

"You hope that every time they lace the pads up that nothing bad happens," Boudreau continued. "But it's a pretty precarious position where they've got to put their bodies in pretty weird spots sometimes. It doesn't surprise me that goalies are getting hurt and pulling muscles."

Neuvirth left the 3-2 overtime loss in Philadelphia after the end of the first period with a lower-body injury that the Capitals say is not his groin. Tuesday morning, Neuvirth was icing his left groin/hip area though and has dealt with that type of injury in the past.

Both Neuvirth and Varlamov have missed a significant amount of time this year with injuries and it seems that the battle between the two to become Washington's No.1 netminder, for the moment, rests more on which one is healthy at any given moment.

Boudreau downplayed the need for any extra attention to make sure that the young goalies don't push themselves too far in trying to compete for a role.

"Whether they were 40 [years old] or 20, you're paying attention to them and you're hoping they're not overdoing it or underdoing it, or what have you," Boudreau said. "We have very capable people that are in charge of that aspect I'm confident they're all doing the right thing."

Note: Boudreau said today was a maintenance day for John Erskine.

By  |  01:11 PM ET, 01/19/2011

Categories:  Michal Neuvirth, Michal Neuvirth

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