UPDATE: The Capitals announced Varlamov has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to his last appearance of the preseason on Sept. 22 and is eligible to be activated at any time.
With the season opener two days away, the most pressing issue facing the Washington Capitals is the status of goalie Semyon Varlamov, who has been nursing an undisclosed injury during training camp.
If the medical staff clears Varlamov, the Capitals would have him available for Friday night in Atlanta but most likely would start Michal Neuvirth. As of early this afternoon, though, Coach Bruce Boudreau wasn't sure what the plan would be but did reveal Varlamov probably would not be ready this weekend.
What is certain is that Washington must decide by 3 p.m. today whether to place Varlamov on injured reserve, which means he wouldn't be available for at least the first several games, assuming the club makes that assignment retroactively. It would mean, however, that Washington could take three goalies to Atlanta because players on injured reserve are permitted to travel with the team.
"I don't know. I doubt it right now, but who can tell," Boudreau said when asked if Varlamov would be able to play on Saturday. "We'll see how tomorrow's practice goes, and then we'll take him to Atlanta and see how he goes in Atlanta, and then we'll make decisions."
If Varlamov is unable to play on Friday, Neuvirth would start, and Dany Sabourin would be the backup. Boudreau then would have another decision on Saturday regarding whether to start Neuvirth on consecutive nights or turn to Sabourin, who has played in 57 NHL games but spent last season in the AHL.
"We'll consider anything," Boudreau said about the possibility of playing Neuvirth on back-to-back nights. "A lot depends on how he plays Friday."