Born of envy and lack of acknowledgement, he toiled in the shadows behind other, less talented goalies:
It’s true that until now, I have never been an official number one.
Always been the bridesmaid in the Washington crease, never the bride.
He was unappreciated and ignored by his coach:
I am happy about Oates [...] because it means Dale Hunter isn’t staying.
He simply didn’t talk to us goalies at all, I think he criticized us sometimes for no reason.
Now, slowly, his competition falls away, one by one…
At first – the Russian who was always in front of me because he was drafted higher and played in the NHL sooner. It was hard to get in front of him. But in the end I played much more than he did.
I was the one who advised [Vokoun] to leave for Pittsburgh.
I am really sure that I have the weakest competition (Braden Holtby) I’ve ever had. I will try to be number one goalie this season. Finally!
Did he think the vicious Washington hockey media wouldn’t get wind of this? This is why Dale Hunter fled to a place where they simply don’t care as much about hockey.
Neuvirth went on to say the same old things that fans have been saying constantly for the last year/s but somehow become scandalous when actual players say, like “[Semin] didn’t have the best work ethic” or “If Semin wanted to, he could have been the best player in the world, but he doesn’t want to every day” or “[Ovechkin] isn’t what he used to be” and “if a team like ours wants to have a chance at the Stanley Cup, we need Ovi to be the best.” Yawn.
Frankly, this interview made me like Neuvy a lot more. I’ve always resented him for not being Semyon Varlamov, but I admire the guy who says, sure, Matt Bradley had to apologize, and I might get some lumber to the head when we play Carolina, but you know we’re right. Or is willing to admit he didn’t like the coach who didn’t care about the goalies.
And while I was obviously pro-Holtby this postseason, I also thought we should try to trade him right after, when his value would be at its peak, rather than go into the next season with a 1A and 1B. Having a 1A and 1B might inspire both goalies to play better, but a definite 1 and 2 means that the team has someone they can practice against full-bore without fear of injuring or tiring out, and there is less pressure on the 1. Playing for your job every night isn’t a sustainable situation.
Russian Machine posted an addendum where they bemoaned the imperfect art of translation, but I’d like to stick to the idea that Neuvirth, in an aberration among athletes, spoke his mind. Holts may very well be his weakest competition yet, and I have no problems believe Hunter was an awful goalie coach. There’s nothing unforgivable there.
Convincing someone to move to Pittsburgh, though? That’s cold.