Within hours of Marcus Johansson returning to the Washington Capitals after a two-game rehab stint with AHL Hershey, the Caps made an even bigger announcement, officially sending goaltender Semyon Varlamov to Hershey.
Varlamov, the presumptive No. 1 goaltender at the start of training camp, has appeared in only two games and started one this season after reaggravating a nagging groin injury during the preseason. The same injury cost Varlamov playing time last season as well.
Earlier this week, Varlamov said that he "feels great" and is close to returning to action. Head coach Bruce Boudreau noticed Varlamov's eagerness but didn't know if "he's 100 percent healthy yet."
"If I was Varly I'd be ready to go after seeing the other two goalies, too," Boudreau said. "He's working hard and hopefully he'll get into a game this weekend somewhere. He's eager to go, just the fact that he's taking shots and staying out long after practice means he's getting closer to a return."
When asked if Varlamov could see action in Hershey, Boudreau wasn't sure, but said Varlamov's next step "might be a scrimmage that we have, but he's going to be in game situations, at least."
In Varlamov's absence, Michal Neuvirth has had a breakout start to the season, earning NHL Rookie of the Month honors for October. Braden Holtby has also earned his first two NHL wins within the last week. What a tangled (goalie glove) web we weave.