Former Washington Capitals and current Dallas Stars goaltender Braden Holtby spoke to Capitals Radio host Ben Raby on the “Caps This Morning” podcast prior to Washington’s first tilt of the season against Dallas. Holtby discussed his time in D.C. and all moments that made his ten-year tenure a memorable one.
Holtby, the winningest Capitals goaltender in the regular season and postseason, said “it’s going to be strange” facing his former team for the first time. “It’s obviously one I don’t know if I’m looking forward to or just looking forward to getting it over with. It’s something I’ve never experienced obviously and it’s been a while…crazy last year and a half.”
He said there are “a lot of different emotions” he feels right now, adding, “Lot of people over there that I spent years with and went through a lot of stuff with…you just kinda got to block that out and go play, but definitely will be strange.”
“The bulk of my career has been there and that’s home to me. There was a point [when] I never thought I’d see myself in a different uniform. I have nothing but positive things to say about everyone there. I owe a lot of my career and life to those people in the organization right from ownership down…Times change and different experiences lead you [in] different ways. It’s obviously special we completed the main goal with the team drafted by and spent a ton of time with…not many people get to do that, so pretty fortunate.”
Holtby said winning the 2018 Stanley Cup with the Capitals made it easier to move onward, per se, knowing the job was completed. “It definitely would have been hard without that…I consider myself extremely fortunate that I was able to be on that team and it definitely makes it easier I think coming back [and] playing Washington…it makes it easier on the fact there are no hard feelings anywhere.”
“I don’t really know why it worked,” he said on the team’s emotional 2018 Cup run. “We weren’t playing with any pressure that year. We just went out and played. I think the years prior to that it weighed on us a bit—just held us back a little bit…Everything clicked for us in ’18 and we just went and played free and I think that’s a big reason why we were able to pull it off…some big performances by a lot of the guys…everything that needed to go right did.”
Holtby noted that Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights “was probably the hardest game that I’ve ever had to mentally prepare for in my whole life” with all the emotions and feelings swarming everyone.
“Been a little crazy if I’m being honest,” he said about the past 36 months from playing in Vancouver to now donning green and black as a member of the Dallas Stars. “It’s obviously been a life experience, doing things I’ve never done before, stepping out of my comfort zone…it’s fun to challenge yourself in different ways.” Holtby also mentioned that “it’s good to be back in a normal season” and “prepare the same way” as before the pandemic.
You can listen to Holtby and Raby’s chat here.
By Della Young