Thursday, January 15, 2015

Holtby's Hot Hand

After a start that included a stretch of 3 losses in 4 games and getting pulled versus the San Jose Sharks, Braden Holtby settled down in net. There were early games where he looked lost and could not see the puck on easy saves. His confidence was shaken. Since early December, that has all changed. Holtby's hot hand is a critical element of the Caps resurgence since then.

Holtby, a 4th round, 93rd overall draft pick in 2008, was known then for his athleticism, which he showed during his 7-7 playoff record after starting only 7 games under Coach Bruce Boudreau in 2011-2012. He was called up due to goalie injuries. Holtby's play has been up and down for the Caps as the carousal of coaches from Bruce Boudreau to Dale Hunter to Adam Oates to Barry Trotz came in and out of the  organization. Oates, in particular, made the mistake of thinking he could coach goalies and told Holtby how to play, which didn't do much for his development or his confidence as he was told to alter his play. Goalies aren't too fond of changing their play or their quirky routines like Holtby following the water squirts out of his bottle during pregame warm ups.

What's changed this season is Mitch Korn 
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Let's go Caps.

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No Winter Classic Hangover for Caps

After winning the Winter Classic in spectacular fashion when Alex Ovechkin broke his stick and the puck squirted behind him to Troy Brouwer, who did a spin-o-rama  and knocked the puck past Blackhawks net minder Corey Crawford with 12 seconds left, there was no Winter Classic hangover for Caps today versus Florida. It got scary in the end when Florida made it 4-3 in regulation, but the Caps got two points they desperately needed and at home, a place where the Caps need to win more this season. This game was set up to be the ultimate let down after that great Winter Classic game, but the Caps showed focus which is different from how they've operated in the pre-Coach Barry Trotz era. The Trotz difference becomes more apparent every day.

The Caps enter 2015 with a 2-0 record, after a 8-2-3 record in December, and sit in 6th place in the Eastern Conference. Even with some glaring holes in player personnel down the middle, the Caps are winning.

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Let's go Caps!

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