Kukla's Korner

23 Intently Staring Goalies

No Ma’am, we’re Goalies

It isn’t then end of the first round, but we can see it from here, and Braden Holtby continues on his mission, and he continues to get attention from the press.

Why? With the “don’t worry, we’ll score more” battle of attrition between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and almost daily wait for the” who, what and why” suspension announcement from Brendan Shanahan, it’s one of the classic sports stories—new and relatively unknown kid makes good, and makes it in a pressure filled and glaringly lit venue.

The story resonates. It’s a respite from what’s been a fairly brutal first round. And let’s face it, unless you’re in Boston, watching Holtby playing in the zone has been a treat. And there’s always the threat of the bubble bursting that adds the spice. I’d be surprised if the press didn’t pick up on Holtby.

So what’s being said?

This from Tal Pinchevsky at nhl.com:

Fresh off a 44-save performance against the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins in Washington’s series-tying Game 4 win on Thursday, rookie goaltender Braden Holtby just might be the biggest name in a playoff series full of stars


And from Red Fisher at the Montreal Gazette:

Talk about a wild and crazy postseason, eh?

While most of the attention has been on the fighting, the steady parade of players to the penalty box and suspensions, not nearly enough has been devoted to someone who merits our full admiration.

My choice thus far?

Washington rookie goaltender Braden Holtby, who is the sole reason the Capitals are awaiting Game 5 in Boston on Saturday (3 p.m., CBC, NBC, RDS) with their series locked up 2-2. On Thursday, the Capitals’ No. 3 goaltender did the heavy lifting with 44 stops in a 2-1 victory in Game 4 – after giving up four goals in a Game 3 loss to the Bruins.

We’re talking about a 22-year-old who had played in only seven games during the regular season. However, he got the call for the postseason because he was the team’s only goaltender left standing when Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth were sidelined with injuries.



And even Nancy Marrapese-Burrell at the Boston Globe:

In the first two games of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series between the Bruins and Capitals, talk centered on the play of Washington goaltender Braden Holtby.

The 22-year-old showed remarkable poise in getting a split in Boston in his first NHL postseason action.

He allowed just one goal in each of the outings on a combined 74 shots and he had the Bruins scratching their heads. He wasn’t as sharp in Game 3, nor were the players in front of him, and the Bruins found the back of the net four times in a one-goal victory.

Thursday night in Game 4, the Capitals were without star center Nicklas Backstrom, who was sitting out a one-game suspension.

But once again, Holtby was a standout. He made 44 saves in a 2-1 victory, which tied the series at two games apiece.

Twelve of his stops came off shots by Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin, who had six apiece.

“[Holtby] was unbelievable, and he’s been through all the games. He’s standing on his head right now,’’ said Marcus Johansson, who had the Capitals’ first goal, and was a defensive force as well. “It’s unbelievable and it’s so fun to see because he’s such a big competitor and he gives everything he’s got. It’s fun to see that everyone around him is giving everything they’ve got, too.”

Filed in: | 23 Intently Staring Goalies | Permalink
  Tags: braden+holtby, goalies, goaltender, nhl


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About 23 Intently Staring Goalies

23 Intently Staring Goalies comes from the 23 close-up photos of goalies that used to line the walls of my office.

On the good side, it kept down interruptions, but it also made sure I had to leave my trash outside my door if I wanted it picked up.

I've been watching and analyzing goaltenders for going on 40 years. Some of that was spent drawing goalies on my grade 8 math homework. Then it was taking my card decks and printouts to Indianapolis Racer games. Luckily, the Internet took off, and by 1991 I was half of the duo that would ultimately become the Plaidworks hockey mailing lists. I wrote "Handicapping the Goalies' for the San Jose Sharks mailing list, and took a lot of photos of goalies in action. I have around 5000 slides of mostly goaltenders in action from 1989 through 2001 from the WHL, IHL and NHL. Since I've gone digital, I've added about 10,000 more images to the library. During summers and when the league went dark, I was reading through multiple SF By area news papers, tracking ice hockey from the 1917 recreational leagues up through the California Seals.

We'll be talking about goalies and goaltending. We'll talk about whats going on now, who's in the system, and when the doldrums hit, I'll haul something out of the big bag of history, or something from the photo archives. We'll talk about who's hot and why, and who's not and what they can do to get back on track. We'll take a look at the trends in scouting goalies, and why a style may work for one team but not another. I'll battle with my dictation software to get it to understand Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky.

It should be interesting--hope you want to come along for the ride!