Artist’s rendition of Benjamin Hunter. (We’ll update later with a real photo. We apologize for scaring you.)

As we’ve heard from multiple players in this postseason and in years past, competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is one of the most intense and stressful things that many of these players will ever go through. Most of them have tried to simplify their lives as much as they’re able, but for Braden Holtby, simplifying completely was just not possible.

That’s because his fiancee, Brandi Bodnar, was pregnant, and her due date was right around the time of the playoffs. Braden himself has not spoken about this to the media, he’s simply continued to focus on the task at hand while, we assume, at least part of his thoughts were off the ice with his fiancee and future child.

This afternoon, Brandi had her baby, and according to the Caps they’ve chosen to name him Benjamin Hunter Holtby. We can’t wait for Dale’s soundbite on this.

The only way this story could have a better ending is if Benjamin’s daddy can bring home that silver, shiny thing in June.


Photo via: Bruce Arthur

The Rangers have been advertising for Eastern Conference Finals tickets since before Game Five, but apparently that just wasn’t a big enough jinx for New Yorkers, they wanted to see if they could top it.

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Ed. Note: Justin Goldman is the founder of The Goalie Guild, an independent goalie scouting service and overall resource for all things professional goaltending. He’s written for NHL.com, been interviewed by Stephen Whyno, and knows more about goaltending than everyone in this blog put together. Check out his story below and make sure to check out his site. Padtracker is the best.

Caps Fans:

I’m writing this note during Game 6, because regardless of whether he wins or loses, my message remains the same.

You have a very special young goaltender in Braden Holtby.

For his age, he is very polished, composed, and adaptable. In fact, when I break down his game at the elemental level, I come to find that he has many positives, and very few negatives.

Most of you are keen enough to see this with your own two eyes. It’s just the way he moves in the crease, the body language he displays. The statistical results act as the perfect “visual proof” most of us need to argue that he has a very bright future.

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Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

The Capitals had they backs against the wall Wednesday in Game 6, down 3-2 in the series after dropping Monday’s game in heartbreaking fashion. For this team, during this year, that was nothing unusual. Their head coach was fired in November. They were on track to miss the playoffs late in the season. But they beat the defending Stanley Cup champions in the first round. And they just pushed the number one seed to a final, deciding game in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

“Everyone would like it to be smooth sailing all the time, but it’s just not the way it works around here and the way it works in the playoffs,” John Carlson, nestled in a corner of Washington’s locker room, told reporters. “I think everyone is paying the price for each other. I think everybody is sacrificing, doing what it takes, whether it’s playing, whether it’s not playing, whether it’s chipping the puck out instead of trying to stick handle, whether it’s getting the puck deep — everyone’s committed and knows when they look left, look right, look across that people want it. If you look in the playoffs right now it’s the best team teams. Teams that work together the best are most successful.”

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