Kukla's Korner

23 Intently Staring Goalies

Braden Holtby—the latest to start a stellar career in the playoffs?

The Stanley Cup Playoffs can be the door a relatively unknown goalie uses to enter the NHL. Ken Dryden was better known for his college play when he shut down the Bruins in 1971. Mike Vernon was a local kid who made good in the 1986 playoffs. So I’m not surprised that Braden Holtby has caught the attention of the hockey media.

Holtby turned what might have been Boston rolling over a weaker team into a goalie battle, only giving up the winning (and only) goal in overtime.  Washington Capitals—when you lose 1-0 in overtime, you shouldn’t be looking at your goalie.

Holtby might turn out in the same mold as Dryden. He may turn out to be the goalie who goes on a mission in the first round, only to to find his level in the second. But he definitely looks like the answer to what the Capitals are looking for, and just in time.

From Joe McDonald at ESPN Boston:

Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas had a message for his teammates earlier this week.

When the Bruins learned that the Washington Capitals decided to start 22-year-old netminder Braden Holtby, Thomas said don’t be fooled by the prospect’s age and lack of experience. A young goalie, with nothing to lose, could be a dangerous foe.

Caps G Braden Holtby stopped every shot but this one, Chris Kelly’s OT winner.

Turns out that Thomas was right with his prediction.

Fortunately for the Bruins, they were able to sneak one goal past Holtby, and it proved crucial. Boston’s Chris Kelly scored at 1:18 of overtime for a 1-0 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Thursday night at TD Garden.

The goaltending performance by Holtby showed the Bruins that they can’t take their opponent for granted in this series.



And by Katie Carrera at the Washington Post:

Before this series began there were some questions about how Braden Holtby would handle the Bruins’ efforts to invade the crease. The Capitals knew the 22-year-old would defend his turf, and in Game 1 he showed everyone else he would too.

Holtby pushed Boston foes out of the way and when Chris Kelly tried to get a little too cozy in front of the net, the rookie netminder wound up with a roughing penalty for shoving the forward away.

While he expressed regret for putting Washington at a disadvantage with another penalty to kill off, Holtby made it clear he won’t back down.

“That’s my game. That’s where I like to [be]. That’s my crease,” Holtby said. “I don’t really like to let anyone in there because I want to fight as hard as I can to find the puck. It was a pretty reactive play.”




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  Tags: braden+holtby, capitals, goalie


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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!