Screencap: Samantha Pell/WaPo
The NHL Player Video Call with the media on Monday tapped into the minds of three goaltenders who have combined for each of the past four Stanley Cup-clinching wins—Jordan Binnington of the St. Louis Blues, Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals, and Matt Murray of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The trio reflected on their favorite memories from winning the Stanley Cup, participated in trivia about their careers, and discussed being members of the goaltender fraternity.
Holtby is staying in D.C. and has been keeping busy and active with his kids in their backyard. “I’m not doing much right now,” he said in reference to training. If or when the season resumes, he commented it’s going to be “tough” for goaltenders, which Murray and Binnington agreed.
Day 50. Thank god we like each other. pic.twitter.com/oLeXhjCWUO
— Brandi Holtby (@bbholtby) May 1, 2020
The trio was asked if they knew right from the beginning if they wanted to play goaltender. Holtby said he was “obsessed” with goaltending. “My dad was a goalie, so I wanted to be like him.” Holtby admitted he wasn’t very good at it back then and was better playing as a forward.
Known as the “vet” in call, Holtby appreciates what other and even younger goaltenders go through and what it takes to get where they are. “I think we’re all extremely competitive, but when you break it down and become a little more aware of what it takes to be successful as a goalie, the less competition with the other goalie there is . . . I think you have that appreciation of what other guys are going through too. We share the same love.”
It is something that is motivating and influential the 30-year-old explained, who has been playing professionally since 2009 with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays before making his NHL debut on November 5, 2010 with the Capitals.
On a different note, the guys discussed what it’s like at practice playing the goaltender. Who on the team is most likely to buzz the head with a shot? With a chuckle, Holtby said everyone this season has been unsuccessful but admitted former Capitals forward André Burakovsky (now with the Colorado Avalanche) was one to get him during practice and warmups. “It would go by my ears every single shot,” Holtby said.
Holtby mentioned forward T.J. Oshie “just loves breakaways” and is a player who is willing to deflect shots when needed. “As long as he’s helping the team, he’s all for it.” The Capitals netminder deemed center Nicklas Backstrom “extremely good” at positioning and angling also when deflecting shots.
Not counting teammates, Holtby said Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov has hardest shot to read in the league. “He’s got a lot of different ways he can shoot it.” Murray chose Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.
As mentioned, the guys are Stanley Cup-winning goaltenders from the past four seasons. They were asked what was the most memorable moment from their championship. “Seeing my family,” Holtby replied. Sharing the Stanley Cup with his parents, sister, and wife and kids was a heartwarming moment for him. To relive Holtby’s Day with the Cup, click here.
Finally, each goaltender sent a message to their respective fans. “We’ll be back as soon as we can and we are just as excited as everyone else,” Holtby said to Capitals fans. “We miss it just like everyone else, but important thing is that everyone stay safe right now so we can get back as quick as we can.”
By Della Young