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Posted at 12:57 PM ET, 11/19/2010

Braden Holtby to start against Thrashers

By Katie Carrera

Braden Holtby was the first goaltender off the ice this morning at Philips Arena, so it appears that the 21-year-old will make his third start of the season tonight against a Thrashers squad that's looking to get back on track after a 1-4-0 record in the past five games.

Based on Coach Bruce Boudreau's comments Thursday, it's probably safe to expect that Michal Neuvirth will face the Flyers on Saturday.

One of the biggest differences in having Holtby in net as compared to Neuvirth or Semyon Varlamov is his affinity for playing the puck. He likes to be aggressive, handle the puck and perhaps catch some opponents by surprise.

"I don't think we've even seen the tip of the iceberg as far as that goes," Boudreau said when asked how Holtby's puck handling can change the game. "He's still fairly hesitant in doing that. I've seen him in Hershey, he gets the puck and he's like another defenseman back there. Right now he sort of is just...worried about: 'Am I doing the right thing?'

Holtby was asked on Thursday how he developed the ability and why he started it and it's mostly a product of the time he grew up playing hockey and the players he looked up to.

"Growing up I always fooled around on the pond with stickwork and stuff. I loved being a forward, too, at the same time, so it was the best of both worlds in some way," Holtby said. "All my idols growing up did it, Patrick Roy, he would always seem to be out there. He would get into trouble once in a while, but so do I. That's kind of the age that I grew up in: All the goalies were getting good at handling the puck, with [Martin] Brodeur and [Marty] Turco was coming up then, too."

--It looks as though Tomas Fleischmann will be back in the mix tonight and centering a line with Matt Hendricks and Eric Fehr, for the start of the game anyway. D.J. King and Boyd Gordon were taking part in the scratches skate after the rest of the group left the ice.

--The Capitals ran line rushes briefly this morning and based on those, it looked like the top line will be Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble with Marcus Johansson centering Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin on the second.

By Katie Carrera  | November 19, 2010; 12:57 PM ET
Categories:  Atlanta Thrashers, Braden Holtby, Tomas Fleischmann  
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Next: Thrashers trying to get back on track against Capitals

Comments

GO HOLTBY!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | November 19, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the super hot Semin (thats for SAOTI) will get MaJo going offensively.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | November 19, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

@ wtf

Wouldn't worry about the second line, the first line could do with coming up with some goals other than on the pp

Posted by: bqts | November 19, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I actually think the 3rd line is the one that needs a goal the most.

Neither Flash nor Fehr are on a 20+ goal pace, which must be an expectation.

Both these guys JUST got paid and extended, they need to produce.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | November 19, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

What do people think of Marc-Andre Bergeron? I don't mean as a player to be used in the regular six D-man, but as a possible replacement for Sloan.

The benefit would be his play on the PP. Imagine him and Green working the points and having Ovie move down to a Stamkos position.

I'm guessing he would come pretty cheap but he may not be a bad addition for a pure depth D-man. Then if the PP started struggling in the playoffs they could possibly do what Montreal did and dress 7 D-men and have Bergeron play on the PP with a few other shifts thrown in.

The Caps would still clearly need to get Bieksa or the like, so it wouldn't stop that. I'm not saying the Caps should do this, I'm just throwing out the idea.

Posted by: sgm3 | November 19, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I ACTUALLY TOOK THE TIME TO SUBMIT A QUESTION TO KATIE AND IT WAS IGNORED!

JILTED!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | November 19, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

@wtf_e_fehr

Thanks sir. (wipes away a single tear from my eye) Very touching.

And anyone else a little grumbly that the stinking lame Bullets play tonight, meaning the ice will be crappy for the boys tomorrow against Philthy.

Come on Ted, get it together. Stinking Wario clone.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | November 19, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

@ sgm3

Not sure I would want to spend the cap space on him, pretty sure he wants more than just this year. Would make more sense to keep that money for someone else.

While I like the idea of some else on the power play instead of Green. He kills me the way he tea bags the blue line and then can't keep the puck in the o zone and everyone loves him cause he scores a goal here and there.

Posted by: bqts | November 19, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | November 19, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I think if Varly is going to be healthy (phew, I almost said that with a straight face)...we should trade Neuvirth.

How many games has he won when he has let in 3 or more goals....? On any other team, he is a .500 goalie.

Holtby is our future.

And Neuvirth is hot right now...package him with Fleishman and Fehr...and we have a great player coming back...

Just a thought. We do need more harder working grinders with skill than Fehr and Fleishman...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | November 19, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

@wtf_e_fehr

The same happened to me the last Q&A. Your question was either not boring enough, not vague enough, or not repetitive enough to answer. Or maybe they didnt know the answer and they only post questions they can answer. Who knows.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | November 19, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

@ Semin...

NO, I get angry when the Caps aren't on HIGH DEF! Basketball is freaking boring and doesn't need to be in High Def...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | November 19, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

@ Wtf & SAOTI

Better to be ignored than told "We will banish you for speaking you mind" that what happens over at JP the minute you bash anyone :), at least here we can speak our minds, as empty as they maybe :)

Posted by: bqts | November 19, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

O man SoaringCaps, you are going to get crucified for that comment!

Personally I would rather see Varly be the one packaged out at this point but hey, everyone has their opinions. Neuvirth is signed at a bargain price for a couple years and that would be why I think he needs to stay around. But I do agree, he will be Holtby's backup soon enough IMO.

Posted by: PhilR | November 19, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

@bqts

I was thinking maybe they could sign him to around Sloan's salary(maybe even slightly cheaper) to a 1-year deal and then send Sloan down to the minors(or LTIR Poti and then send Sloan to the minors when Poti gets healthy).

Bergeron is not worth any money, but if he is willing to sign a cheap 1-year deal it could be worth it.

I just really like the idea of having Bergeron and Green playing the points and moving Ovie to a Stamkos position on the PP. I think that would be so deadly.

Then when Semin comes on, Ovie slides in front of the net.

Or Ovie and Begeron could man the points together for a little bit to giving two great shot options at the point. That would really create a lot of room for the other 3 players(Semin, Backstrom, Laich) to work down low.

In the end it just gives many more good options for the PP. That is always useful, especially in the playoffs.

Posted by: sgm3 | November 19, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@ Phil R & SoaringCaps

Don't matter who stays or goes its only a matter of time until Holtby is the No. 1. I think you trade Neuvirth if Varly is good because his cap hit makes him very attractive to other teams andit is also a huge chip to be able to trade. But what do I know :)

Posted by: bqts | November 19, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@bqts

Yeah, Im pretty sure my question the other day got denied because the subject line was "Ugh Flash"...and I later referred to him as Tomas "Flush" Fleishmann.

Good thing I didnt ask about Tyler "Esskay" Sloan.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | November 19, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Flash & Fehr for... ? That's overpaying for Bieksa IMO...

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | November 19, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

@ SAOTI

Not to worry hoefully by season's end Tyler will either have nough knowledge of Esskay or Doritos to be a salesman .... figure we should train him for something cause we will never make a d man out of him.

Posted by: bqts | November 19, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

SAOTI,
Not a surprise that a disrespectful question wasn't answered. "Flush" is probably what sunk it, whether the question had merit or not.

Posted by: _Mark | November 19, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

@bqts
I could have sworn I saw him trying sell "ice cold Bud Light bottles" in the stands when he was last scratched at home. I think Ted is making him earn his $700k this time.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | November 19, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Now that you mention it, the questions she does answer are pretty much layups. Some of them have ALREADY BEEN ANSWERED HERE BEFORE SHE DOES THE VIDEO.

Or could easily be answered by reading a little in other places.

I'M LOOKING FOR THE CAPS INSIDE(ER) STUFF!

Well, you don't have to worry about me asking another one.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | November 19, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

@_Mark

Oh I have no doubt, and I think my question did have merit unfortunately...but sometimes that whole "filter" thing fails me and an insult or 2 sneaks out. Im working on it though. =)

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | November 19, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

@ SAOTI

Forget the engage brain before mouth that’s boring :)

Posted by: bqts | November 19, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@wtf

Exactly...I would like to see her address a tougher question she wont immediately know the answer or doesnt have the answer, and then maybe give her thinking behind it with a promise to look into it and get more information for the next session. So she could start off the next time with, "Hey all, Im Katie Carrera and we are going to start off with answering the questions we had to research from the last session."

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | November 19, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Unless Varly can stay healthy enough to play 40+ games and playoffs, no way you Neuvy over Varly. Varly has yet to win a championship. That would be a big mistake.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | November 19, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Holtby & Neuvirth are the pair. time to shop Varly. also, BB should leave the line of 25-39-10 alone. if Flush can't hang, keep his azz in the press box. Fehr better get his head out of the sand too.

Posted by: doughless | November 19, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I love the concept at least of moving Ovie off the point on the PP - what dman in the league can cover him down low, already down a guy, without drawing another penalty - but I'd much rather see Carlson get more PP time with the 2nd unit than grabbing Marc-Andre Bergeron. Speaking of, does Green really need to be out there for 98% of our team's power play, every single time?

Hartley used to even pull the Forsberg unit after 25 secs if he saw one sloppy pass or a guy holding it too long - not that I think that's necessarily the answer.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | November 19, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Geez I think it'd be a big mistake to give up Varly. If we do, and that team figures out how to keep him healthy [how come some teams have so many groin injuries every year, while others only a few the whole season] it could be a disaster.

He is simply that rare, explosive athlete who doesn't come around very often.

As for Holtby, I hope he's not trying to emulate Patty Roy's puckhandling moves, that guy cost his team games and got his d-men killed - he was phenomenal at stopping pucks but sugged as a stick-handler. Like most goalies.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | November 19, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

The thing about Bergeron over Carlson is that Bergeron has an incredible shot from the point. That is always big on a PP. Carlson is clearly a much better overall player, but I would take Bergeron over Carlson to play the point on a PP.

I do agree that it is way too early to even consider trading Varly. Neuvy and Holtby both show promise too, but both(just like Varly) have played very few NHL games. I say give it time and let them compete against each other to prove who is best.

In addition, Varly has little trade value now as very few teams are looking for a goalie.

Posted by: sgm3 | November 19, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Whoever said that we should "shop Varly" has forgotten what Varly has been like at his best. He is the Ovechkin of goalies with his boldness and explosiveness. Can't wait to get him back. It is true that he has chronic injuries that have held him back. This is very unfortunate. But if he was healthy for most of the games and for long stretches, he would iron out inconsistencies and emerge as one of the greats.

At the moment, great as the kids are, no one has enough consistency to be a Stanley Cup goalie. Both Neuvy and Varley have had melt-downs under pressure. But if they worked as a pair for the remaining of the year and worked hard, I am hopeful that they would mature and blossom.

Posted by: caraveli | November 19, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

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