Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Prospect Notes: Pokulok And Varlamov

A couple of quick prospect notes on this lovely Tuesday afternoon...

First up, the Charleston Post and Courier has a lengthy feature on big blueliner Sasha Pokulok (the player the Caps took with their first round pick in the Great Screw Job of 2005, err, the 2005 Entry Draft). If you don't feel like reading the whole article, here's the bottom line in a neat, two paragraph nutshell:
It is Pokulok's offensive skill, his skating ability, and his 6-5, 230-pound frame that made the former Cornell star a first-round pick in the 2005 NHL draft by the Washington Capitals.

But while his skills are indisputable, the expectations that come with being a first-round draft pick have carried a heavy burden for the soft-spoken Pokulok. Labeled a bust by some hockey experts just two years into his professional career, Pokulok's development has been too slow for some Capitals fans.
Take your time, Sasha - we'll wait... if you're worth waiting for.

The second nugget du jour comes via the Alexander Ovetjkin blog, and it's the translation of a brief SovSport interview with goaltender Simeon Varlamov, who will join the franchise's better-known Russians at the World Championships. Money quote:
I know that the Washington Capitals are waiting for me, they talk a lot with my agent. I'm planning to leave for North America. I know it will be hard to break into the Capitals roster. But I will try. I am even prepared to spend a year or two in the AHL.... I know how much they pay in the AHL. But at this stage I'm not interested in money.
I'll set the over/under on his NHL arrival at December, 2009. Place your bets.


breed16 said...

I'll take the under.

February '09, take it to the bank JP.

Scott said...

I'll tell you after we figure out who our goalie is next year. Kolzig, I'll take the under. Huet, I'll take the over.

exwhaler said...

Given how Machesney played this year in Hershey, the unheralded goalie may be up here first...as Johnson's replacement behind whoever we sign as our No. 1.

Betty said...

RE: Pokulok: "There was Game 1 against Augusta in the opening round of the 2008 Kelly Cup playoffs when Pokulok went end-to-end, skating through all five Lynx players and eventually getting behind the Augusta net. With a Lynx defense-man draped all over him, Pokulok shrugged him off and found Sean Collins at the Stingrays' blue line with a tape-to-tape pass for an easy goal."

Gee, where have we seen this kind of behavior in a defenseman recently? Tee hee! Particularly that part about -whoa!- finding himself all the way behind the net. I like Sasha's style!

~Mark said...

Yawn...is it September yet?
Sorry JP, I just can't get excited about this one. Pokulok is gonna have to shock the hockey universe to make it a career in the NHL, and I no longer get excited about any goalie prospect because of how unpredictable they are.

Ogre said...

When you have three top-notch goalie prospects, you have to think the rate of successful top-not goalie prospects is greater than 33%, no?

Gotta get excited behind one of them. My choice is still Neuwirth.

Caps Dreamer said...

I hope you're right Ogre. We need one of these guys to develop into an NHL goalie.

Thanks for sharing the article on Varlmov JP.

Anonymous said...

"Great Screw Job of 2005"?

JP said...

The Great Screw Job of 2005, aka the 2005 Entry Draft, aka the Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes - The Caps had the third worst record in hockey in the last season that was played and yet ended up with the 14th pick in the draft thanks to a lottery formula that gave the Caps the same chance at the top pick as, for example, the defending Cup champs and President's Trophy winner.

It was, in a word, crap.

Bret said...

Though, JP, you could argue it would have been unfair for the Caps to get first crack at both Ovechkin and Crosby just because of the lockout. But I hated to see the Pens get Crosby, though it most likely allowed them to stay in Pittsburgh.

In your estimation, who is better, Varlamov or Neuvirth?

JP said...

I don't think the Caps should have necessarily had the best odds at getting Crosby, but being as bad as they were, they should have been guaranteed a higher spot in the draft (that is, after all, the purpose of a draft based on record, which the NHL has used in every other year in memory). Besides, is getting Malkin and Crosby much different than getting Ovechkin and Crosby?

Anyway, I haven't seen much of either goalie (just in camp last summer and a few of Varlamov's games at the World Jrs.), but from everything I hear, Varlamov is the closer/better of the two.

And, FYI, Varlamov is out for the first round of the World Championships with a foot injury, which is a shame.