Braden Holtby is good. Really good. Like, better than I ever expected. Mostly because two weeks ago, I didn’t know who Braden Holtby was. It’s no secret that a hot goalie in the NHL playoffs is all your team needs to find success. Whether it be, Giguere or Halak, a team with a hot goalie makes seeds irrelevant. Hell, look at the Kings (though I’d argue that Quick is less hot than just really, really good).
Holtby, of course, is slightly more interesting purely because he’s a rookie. Rookie goalies finding success is nothing new but it’s always interesting. Especially in the pressure cooker that is the NHL playoffs and especially, in Holtby’s case, in Washington where the pressure on the Capitals to actually put a winning team together grows every year. It’s one thing to be 2011 James Reimer and attempt a valiant comeback that is destined to fall short in the regular season, it’s another to be 2006 Cam Ward and lead a team to victory in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
What I find so interesting about Holtby isn’t that he’s good, though he so totally is, but that he seems to be more calm and collected than most other goalies in the playoffs. Marc-Andre Fleury forgot how to play the position, Ilya Bryzgalov seems to be trying to play himself out of a starting job (I still love you, Ilya. Team Bryzzy!) and even the immortal Martin Brodeur has seemed shaken and a little unfocused throughout the playoffs.
Not Holtby, though. It’s not something that can be easily explained either but, I mean. Well…look.
I know, we’ve seen and talked about this video enough in the last week but…look at it. Holtby just stares at Peverley like, “…okay. What now?” If there was any one act that symbolizes why Holtby is finding such success, I think this is it. Who knows if it’ll continue but I do know that I keep predicting it won’t. And he keeps proving me wrong. Which, admittedly, happens a lot, but he’s proving me wrong while not flinching at a stick flying towards his face. That’s new.
Yes, he’s got a long way to go and yes, he’s currently battling a very good Rangers team but if the Canadians can knock off the top two seeds with only the competence of Jaroslav Halak and Mike Cammalleri, who knows what the Capitals could do? Holtby playing as he is with the offensive punch of Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, et al? It’s going to make things interesting. I know I’m looking forward to game 3. You should be too.
Links To The Past
- Speaking of the Kings. They’re kind of pretty awesome. They’ve got to be considered the favourites to come out of the West right? With the way they’re playing, I think so. (LA Times)
- The Blues have a whole bunch of problems right now. None of which are that they’re stuck playing the Kings. (ESPN)
- Linus Omark wants a new team. The Leafs want someone who can score. You’d think it’d be a good match. I hope they negotiate over Twitter. (The Leafs Nation)
- Another reason for the Caps’ success other than Holtby? Dale Hunter. (The Globe and Mail)
- I always knew Gilbert Brule would play a key role on a playoff team. Wait, no I didn’t. (The Arizona Republic)
- No Stanley Cup and no series victory make Eugene Melnyk something something. Oh, he’s surprisingly happy? That’s not what I was expecting. (The Hockey News)
- It only took James van Riemsdyk six months to justify his contract. I don’t think the Flyers mind. (The Toronto Star)
- The Phoenix Coyotes care not for your awesomeness, Pekka Rinne. (FOX Sports Arizona)
- So many easy Dustin Penner jokes to make about this hit. On a not-serious note though, I highly recommend Penner’s Twitter feed. His homepage is ihop.com. It’s as wonderful as it sounds.