Was there a more hated Capital midway through October than Jose Theodore?
The Capitals' key offseason acquisition started his career as a Cap with the rockiest of starts, letting in four goals in the season opener against the Thrashers, getting pulled in the second period and then the next night letting in the first shot he faced against the Blackhawks.
The night after the season opener, the Capitals defeated the Blackhawks (Oct 11, 2008), but fans didn't give credit to Theodore, who actually had a solid second and third period.
Ted Leonsis posted this on his blog following the game.
"My mailbox was full of some angry emails this morning - some sent 45 seconds into the game last night - concerning our performance...I literally have emails demanding that we waive our goaltender; that we fire our coach; that we fire our general manager; that I sell the team…all after two games in."
Fast forward to Feb. 19. The Capitals currently sit 11 points out of the top slot in the East, and they've been able to stay within reasonable distance of the Bruins thanks to the play of, guess who, Jose Theodore.
The man who was hated so much at the start, is now ninth among NHL goalies for wins. His save percentage sits at .901, a definite improvement over the sub .870 numbers he had. His GAA has dropped to 2.78, a vast improvement over the 3.00+ numbers he had going into December. Jose is also tied for second for points by goalies (3).
Simply put, since his "born again" performance against the Rangers on Dec. 23, Theodore has been one of the NHL's best goaltenders. The most even strength goals he's allowed since that game? Four, to the Rangers in their last meeting.
Jose is making key saves, and he's no longer the target of the fans' ire; that belongs to the PK unit now.
To further illustrate how well Theodore is playing, consider these stats. Jose has had six "even strength shutouts" since Dec. 23. He's only had four games where he's allowed two or more goals at even strength since Dec. 23 as well.
What a great story for a man who went from "most hated" to the best goaltender nobody is talking about.
So do you think Colorado misses him?