Dale Hunter has not been making many friends in the Capitals locker room lately and after benching him in favor of AHL callup Braden Holtby Monday night, you can add Michal Neuvirth to that list.
Like most in Capitals Nation, Neuvirth assumed that when Holtby was recalled from the Bears on Monday morning he would serve an emergency backup while Tomas Vokoun stayed home with the flu.
Actually I thought the whole day I'm going to play, Neuvirth said Tuesday. I show up for the game and find out I'm not.
It is tough, but what can I do? At least if I knew Holtsy was going to get the start, but, you know, no one told me, so I was getting prepared for the game. When I show up, I found out I was not playing (and) it was tough to swallow.
Vokoun said he was just as surprised by Hunters decision to start Holtby over Neuvirth.
Its tough, he said. If it was me, Id be upset for sure, and Im sure he is, too. I was surprised. Im sure Dale and George (McPhee) follow Hershey and know how Braden played. Its their decision. They make those decisions and we have to live with them.
Hunter was matter-of-fact when he explained his decision to go with Holtby over
Neuvirth, who has allowed 10 goals in his last three starts.
Hes a professional, Hunter said. If he was standing on his head every night would Braden be playing? No. Its always judged by how you played.
Asked how the team feels about Hunters straight-forward some might say insensitive -- approach to lineup decisions, Vokoun quipped, Thats a good question. Sometimes its good; sometimes its not so good. We all have to live with it.