By Tarik El-Bashir
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 11, 2008
José Théodore had been a member of the Washington Capitals for barely an hour when he received an unexpected phone call from the man who made him want to play in Washington.
"Alex Ovechkin just called me to say we have a great group of guys," Théodore said during his introductory news conference yesterday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. "We like to have fun, win and work hard. When he said that, I knew I made the right choice."
Théodore also revealed that he delayed re-signing with the Colorado Avalanche because he suspected that Cristobal Huet might not return to Washington. When Huet bolted to the Chicago Blackhawks, Theodore quickly agreed to a two-year, $9 million contract on July 1.
"When I saw things weren't progressing with Cristobal, I knew there was going to be an opening," said Théodore, whose name is pronounced Joe-Zay Thee-O-Dore. "So I didn't want to sign too quickly in Denver."
"This was my first choice," he added. "They [also] have the best player in the league."
Other highlights from Théodore's news conference:
· Asked about his struggles in 2005-06 and 2006-07 before rebounding last season with the Avalanche, Théodore said: "I have got a lot left. I'm more experienced now. I had some bad years to really make me realize that it's easy to fall down, but then when you do get up you just want to make sure you don't do that again. I'm stronger mentally now. I feel like I'm 22 right now, instead of [almost] 32."
· Asked why he wears No. 60, an odd number for goaltender, Théodore joked that there were about "200" retired numbers in Montreal, his first team. No. 33 wasn't available (that once belonged to Canadiens legend Patrick Roy) and Donald Brashear wore No. 35 at the time. Théodore will be the first Capital to wear No. 60.
· As for Coach Bruce Boudreau's high-octane offense, which can ask a lot of goaltenders, Théodore cracked: "I'm aware of that. It just means more highlight saves for me, I guess."Fehr Signs One-Year Deal
Right wing Eric Fehr signed his qualifying offer, a two-way, one-year contract worth $735,000. General Manager George McPhee said he also expects to re-sign center Boyd Gordon soon and that it appears defenseman Shaone Morrisonn's salary will be determined in arbitration on July 24.
McPhee said he doesn't envision defenseman Brian Pothier being ready for training camp and that he also remains unsure of right wing Chris Clark's status. Pothier has been out since January with a concussion; Clark missed most of last season with a groin injury. "I doubt Pothier will be ready in September, and we're hopeful Clark is," McPhee said. . . .
On Tuesday, Tampa Bay Lightning co-owner Len Barrie was quoted in the St. Petersburg Times as saying: "I'll predict right now, Tampa Bay will win the division. That's how much we like our team."
Yesterday, Boudreau responded to the slight by saying sarcastically: "We just hope to be in second place because Tampa says they're going win the division. So if we play good enough to get to second place, we'll be happy."