I was going to give this story a sexy title like: TJ Oshie Goes Top Shelf, Unstoppable In Shootout, but the Caps shootout victory over the Ducks was a true team victory. For those who stayed up until 1 AM last night, you know what I mean.
In February, two RMNB readers, Daniel and Katie, told us that they had named their new child after two of their favorite Caps players, Braden Holtby and Alex Ovechkin. Naturally, we had to share the news of tiny Braden Alexander with all of you. The post was one of our most-read articles of February and NHL Live even showed a picture of tiny Braden on TV.
That reception was wonderful — Daniel and Katie thanked me approximately a million times through email — but that’s not the end of the story. A few days later, the Capitals reached out to me privately and asked if I could arrange for a package be sent to Daniel and Katie.
You’re never going to believe what they were sent.
Team Canada announced the first 16 players on its World Cup of Hockey roster. Among those first 16 was a very handsome, very excellent goaltender you might know. His name is Braden Holtby. Katie Brown touched on this very topic earlier this week.
This is the first World Cup of Hockey in 12 years. The last WCH was in 2004 and was won by Canada. Unlike the IIHF World Championships, the World Cup of Hockey is organized by the NHL, with NHL rules, and is timed to not overlap with the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Come let me maul you. (Photo: @WashCaps)
The Washington Capitals will be giving away Braden Holtby “Holtbeast” themed action figures at the Minnesota Wild (get it?) game on February 26. This afternoon, the Caps shared images of the plastic figurine.
Photo: Amanda Bowen
If you’ve yet to come across it, I highly recommend giving Tom Haberstroh’s recent splendid piece of reporting for ESPN The Magazine a read. It sinks its teeth into the grisly nature of the NBA’s 82-game schedule, putting a spotlight on the immense physical toll it puts on its players. The story itself isn’t necessarily a revelation, but is important nonetheless because it gets to the root of the issue stemming from systemic flaws the league willingly inflicts upon itself.
The comparison between the NBA and NHL isn’t seamless. There are fundamental differences between the two sports. In basketball significantly fewer players are relied upon to carry the load. The tread on the tires can accumulate particularly quickly for those guys given how much they’re asked to do on a nightly basis. Regardless, the idea that performance dips under fatigued conditions holds true in hockey just the same. The ability to control territorial play, generate more goals than the opposition, and ultimately win games all precipitously declines with decreased rest, lending credence to the phenomenon of “schedule losses.”
Nearly six years ago, a 21-year-old Braden Holtby first met an 18-year-old Evgeny Kuznetsov at Caps development camp. Their relationship began somewhat rocky, as the competitive Holtby once slashed Kuznetsov in the calf after celebrating a scrimmage goal.
The Washington Capitals organization gives out a program during games called “Breakaway.” Inside, it features various Caps players and their various (potentially embarrassing) survey answers. Kuzy, I’m sure, loves the surveys (Ian really enjoys that Vine), and some might even say he has a bad romance with them.
I learned a lot . . . maybe too much — such as Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s favorite musician being Lady Gaga. One can only imagine how excited he was to watch the singer perform the national anthem at Super Bowl 50. Let’s look at some other tidbits that thornescratch over on Tumblr provided us with.
Photo: Abbi F.
After the Caps’ 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers, long-time RMNB reader Abbi F. shared with us a fun story from the game. Sunday was her 16th birthday so she decided to make a sign in the hopes she might get a puck. And to the surprise of no one, Tom Wilson came through in the clutch (even though he was forced to try multiple times).
The New Jersey Devils began a week-long celebration to honor one of the greatest goaltenders of all-time, Martin Brodeur. On Saturday, Brodeur was the honoree in the Caps-Devils ceremonial faceoff. But instead of the two teams’ captains participating, Brodeur dropped the puck between starting goaltenders, Cory Schneider and Braden Holtby.
It was fun, awkward, and silly.
Photo: Geoff Burke
We’ve said this before, but Braden Holtby is really good (even when he’s not actually playing in an actual hockey game). Against the Islanders on Thursday night, Holtby was tremendous, stopping 24 of 26 shots. His best save came in the third period on John Tavares, but we didn’t notice until NBCSN showed a slo-mo replay.