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Photo: Caps Instagram

Braden Holtby has been busy this year, playing in 53 of the Capitals’ 62 games. Maybe that’s why he just unveiled his fourth new mask of the 2014-15 season. Painted by Swedish artist Dave Gunnarsson, the mask integrates some design features from Holtby’s Winter Classic bucket. The hand-painted Uncle Sam portrait, an homage to Olie Kolzig, returns on the chin.

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The Caps Are Straight Dominating the NHL’s Leaderboard

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Photo: @capsfan74

On February 19th, 2015, let it be remembered that 59 games into the season, the Caps were straight pwning the NHL’s leaderboard. Alex Ovechkin leads the league in goals (38) and Nicklas Backstrom leads the league in both assists (45) and points (63). Ovi is also third in the league in points and trails Backstrom by two.

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Braden Holtby Could Have Been a Farmer

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Photo: Monumental Network

ESPN’s Scott Burnside traveled with the Washington Capitals to document the team’s recent annual fathers trip. The whole story is a great read, but my favorite snippet was about Braden Holtby.

Holtby’s father Greg, who was once a junior goaltender with the Saskatoon Blades, revealed that he hoped his son would someday take over the family’s farm. Instead of being the Holtbeast, Braden could have been the Holtcattleherder-- which doesn’t really have the same ring to it.

Greg was, in Burnside’s words, “unfailingly supportive” of tiny Braden’s dream of being a NHL goaltender.

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Is Braden Holtby’s Workload a Problem?

Photo: Amanda Bowen

Braden Holtby has appeared in 49 of the Caps’ 58 games, which has him tied with Cory Schneider for the league lead among NHL goalies.  This puts him on pace to play in 69 games this season, a total that would be the fifth most all-time by a Caps’ goalie 

As the games get more meaningful down the stretch, Holtby’s workload isn’t going to decrease. Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post noted this before the Caps win over the Ducks on Sunday.

If Holtby sits just two times the rest of the way, he will finish the season with 71 appearances. Let’s split the difference between his pace and Alex’s higher estimate and say Holtby will end the season with 70 appearances. A heavy workload, for sure. Some Caps’ fans have expressed concern over Holtby’s regular season workload hindering his playoff performance.

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Sidney Crosby Gently Shoves Braden Holtby (GIF)

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Coming into Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins had been shut out by Braden Holtby in two consecutive games. To try and shake him, the Penguins crashed the net on every play.

That’s cool and all, but the Holtbeast wasn’t impressed. Especially when Chris Kunitz got a wee bit too close to his manimal cage.

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When word spread that six-year-old Bensten got hit by a car sledding late last week, one of the first players to wish him well publicly was Tom Wilson.

Wilson knows a thing or two about fighting, and before Washington’s game against Anaheim Thursday, the enforcer spoke to WUSA’s Surae Chinn and had some uplifting words for the young Caps fan.

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When the Caps went on the power play in the second period, Braden Holtby showed off another part of his game that we adore: his offense. After an Oiler shot a puck on net, Holtby gloved the puck out of the air, threw it to the ice, and chucked a 110-foot pass to Troy Brouwer at the opposing blue line.

Dude wanted his seventh career assist.

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How Much is Braden Holtby Worth?

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Photo: Bruce Bennett

Braden Holtby is a restricted free agent (RFA) at the end of the season. With two seasons of RFA status remaining, Holtby won’t be eligible for unrestricted free agency (UFA) until the end of the 2016-17 season.

The Caps are not yet talking to Holtby’s camp about an extension. Meanwhile, Holtby is establishing himself as a top goalie in the league and not getting any cheaper. With that in mind, here’s a look at how much Holtby is worth.

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Braden Holtby to Make 23rd Consecutive Appearance

Photo: Amanda Bowen

The pregamer’s prediction was wrong. Braden Holtby will make his 23rd consecutive appearance tonight at Philadelphia, his 17th consecutive start. Wayne Stephenson played 22 straight for the Caps in 1979 – 1980.

Holtby has saved 93.78 percent of 5-on-5 shots since November 29th and 92.5 percent in all situations. He’s collected 11 wins in that span.

This announcement comes per your boy Adam Vingan:

There’s also some contract news on the Holtby beat.

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After the Washington Capitals concluded their first and only practice on the Winter Classic ice sheet, head coach Barry Trotz gathered his team in a semi-circle.

“They’re kicking us off the ice so we can let our families and let the people who helped us get here and the people you care about have some time on the ice,” Trotz said as the group disbanded. It was at that point dozens of friends, girlfriends, wives, and children came out onto the ice to enjoy a family skate with the Caps.

“This is Belle,” Braden Holtby said to EPIX cameras. “This is her first time on the ice.”

“Too bad you won’t remember this,” Holtby said, as he head turned to his new-born daughter. “We will.”

Brooks Laich could be seen skating with his girlfriend Julianne Hough. Trotz even got to say hello to Alex Ovechkin‘s mom and dad, Tatyana and Mikhail.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with your son,” Trotz said to Ovechkin’s parents, as the Russian machine translates. “I don’t know if it’s a pleasure coming back, but I know it’s a pleasure this way. I think we get along.”

“Happy New Year, health, good luck for the whole team and your family,” Ovechkin’s father responded back in Russian.

“The same thing goes for you,” Trotz said.

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