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Posted at 2:07 PM ET, 03/11/2011

Braden Holtby on reacting to unfamiliar shooters and rinks in the NHL

By Katie Carrera

During his time in NHL games and even AHL contests, Braden Holtby doesn't have the benefit of familiarity with many of the shooters he's facing or the rinks that he's playing in. So in almost every scenario, Holtby, who will make his ninth NHL start tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes, has to rely on his instincts and be able to react to whatever might happen in front of him.

"Especially in the AHL, because you maybe know of four or five guys and you've maybe played against two of them on a team," Holtby said. "So you're facing a lot of guys that you've never seen before.

"You've just got to go and do it, and react a bit more. It helps you in the long run because you're not cheating towards anything or getting away with things that you can do because you know people's tendencies. You have to play everything honestly."

When Edmonton's Andrew Cogliano had a shorthanded breakaway at a pivotal juncture of the second period, Holtby said he just wanted to make sure he had enough time and space to react to his opponent's speed.

Another thing that was a little different Wednesday, in what proved to be Holtby's first NHL shutout in Washington's 5-0 win over the Oilers, was how little he played the puck. Holtby is known for his aggressive style and confidence playing the puck, while part of his limited involvement with the puck was because the Oilers couldn't get much going in the offensive zone, he also wasn't completely comfortable with the Verizon Center boards.

"I didn't feel too comfortable behind the net [against Edmonton]," Holtby said. "I don't know. I was getting some weird bounces in the first period and I just didn't feel comfortable. I didn't think I'd be able to help the guys too much if I wasn't getting them clean off the boards and practice yesterday I was able to get to know the boards a little better and what they're doing. They aren't exactly ideal but at least I know what to do now."

By Katie Carrera  | March 11, 2011; 2:07 PM ET
Categories:  Braden Holtby  
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Comments

PRIMVS!

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 11, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Holtby is going to score a goal for the Caps.

Posted by: GFisher1 | March 11, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

@ tominsocal, SAOTI, PhilR, Tmac, Capscoach and the other noraml regular posters...........

I have noticed as I did this time last year an up swing in posters ??? Just me or is the band wagon starting to roll a little

Posted by: bqts | March 11, 2011 1:55 PM

Pretty ignorant comment there. I just became a Caps fan on this 6 game winning streak and they are the best - just signed up on the Post a few hours ago. You should be happy to have fans come and enjoy the team - followers of Pittsburgh, Detroit, Colorado, and Montreal all had to start somewhere. The more people, the better... don't need to act like a snob... there are already a bunch of donkeys (from other teams) that Caps fans have to deal with coming to the Verizon Center (Isn't that where they play?).

Posted by: _828 | March 11, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

@ _828

You missed the point of the post ...... I was pointing out how many "Know it alls" appear to be around once again that it comes to the push for the play offs.

Posted by: bqts | March 11, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@ PhilR

Wise move on your part :)

Posted by: bqts | March 11, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

@ PhilR

Wise move on your part :) now I must return to the cave this day light stuff is so bad for my skin.

Posted by: bqts | March 11, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I've been on this board for a couple years but I might post 10 to 20 times a year. I usually just read the updates and if there's something that I do actually know something about I'll chime in.

Posted by: cappies | March 11, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I am doing my very own CI Poll right now. In all likelihood (unless something crazy happens) the Caps will be playing one of five teams in the first round. I want to know who you would most like to play, and who you'd least like to play:

a) Pens
b) Habs
c) Rangers
d) Sabres
e) Canes

Posted by: Aldred15 | March 11, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

@Aldred15

1) Habs
2) Sabres
3) Canes
4) Pens
5) Rangers

1,2, and 3 are pretty close.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 11, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

@alfred15

sabres
canes
pens
habs
rangers

Posted by: _stevo | March 11, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I am hoping we can get a first round bye...

I also think Chara should spend life in prison.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 11, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

sgm, that order works for me. The only one of those 5 I absolutely do not want to play in the first round is the Rangers; I don't really care what order the other 4 are in. (I have to admit that before GMGM made his trade deadline deals, I was starting to think we wouldn't even make the playoffs. But the new guys are fitting in very well, and I like our playoff makeup this year a lot more than I liked last year's.)

Posted by: wocoliz | March 11, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I want the Pens, but only if Crosby is back and fully healthy. After that I want the Habs. It's all about revenge.

Posted by: crashinghero | March 11, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

In the first round, I want the Habs and don't want the Pens, because I want the Caps to beat the latter later, when Crosby is as healthy as he can be.

It's put up or shut up time. Results, baby.

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | March 11, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

@SA-Town - have you seen this:
http://img593.imageshack.us/img593/592/254939843.jpg

As for the playoffs, I don't know that I'm so eager to face Les Habs in an early round. That team is filled with quick, shifty forwards who move the puck well, and d-men who get it to them cleanly [albeit less so with Markov out]. Idiotic as it was to let Halak go, I still think they're a dangerous, well-coached team.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | March 11, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

@Aldred15

1) Sabres
2) Rangers
3) Pens
4) Habs
5) Canes

I also would add Philly to an option because Pittsburgh is only 4 points back of Philly and if we fall back behing TB the two of us could very easly be the 4-5 matchup. I would put them at 6 as even with them struggling now I think they are still the best team in the East.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 11, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

On thing that got me to post was all you sideline GM's. I have followed this great game for over 40 years and you all make me laugh.

Posted by: ballgame21 | March 11, 2011 3:22 PM

Laugh at me, laugh with me, either way, just happy I can amuse you.

And, if not for being sideline GM, why even have the blog comments.

It's called human nature.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 11, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I would order it the following, from 'most want to play' to 'least want to play'

a) Sabres - Miller hasn't been himself this year
b) Habs - Price cannot do what Halak did, although he does look good
c) Rangers - I hate the Rangers, although they have dummied the Caps a couple times this year
d) Pens - Still look scary, even without Malkin and Crosby
e) Canes - Cam Ward in the playoffs scares me big time. Plus Staal, Skinner, etc. and I really don't want to draw them.

Posted by: Aldred15 | March 11, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer - agreed about Philthy, I think they could be tough [although they've gone south since their much-ballyhooed acquisition of Versteeg, hah].

Their only real weaknesses last spring seemed to be in goal and their 3rd D pairing - but wow did they address that. I think Bobrovsky has been really strong for them.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | March 11, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

On thing that got me to post was all you sideline GM's. I have followed this great game for over 40 years and you all make me laugh.

Posted by: ballgame21 | March 11, 2011 3:22 PM

Laugh at me, laugh with me, either way, just happy I can amuse you.

And, if not for being sideline GM, why even have the blog comments.

It's called human nature.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 11, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

who is anyone kidding? it doesn't matter who we play, it matters that we get to 16 post-season wins...

It only matter that we "WIN OUR LAST GAME" this year!

Posted by: FrankM73 | March 11, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

1st round:
1) Pens (w/ Crosby)
2) Pens (w/o Crosby)
3) Habs
4) Sabres
5) Canes
6) Lightning
7) Rangers

REVENGE

Posted by: seth_malaguerra | March 11, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

who is anyone kidding? it doesn't matter who we play, it matters that we get to 16 post-season wins...

It only matter that we "WIN OUR LAST GAME" this year!

Posted by: FrankM73 | March 11, 2011 3:52 PM

+1

Agreed. I'd actually prefer that we can exorcise all our demons in one rousing postseason:

Round 1 defeat Habs
Round 2 defeat Flyers
Round 3 defeat Pens
Round 4 defeat Red Wings

That would make everyone should up once and for all, even me.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 11, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

@ tom -

Agreed, we have a great shot at post season redemption this year the way the matchups look to shake out. If the Caps have learned how to play playoff hockey, that is.

Posted by: seth_malaguerra | March 11, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. I'd actually prefer that we can exorcise all our demons in one rousing postseason:

Round 1 defeat Habs
Round 2 defeat Flyers
Round 3 defeat Pens
Round 4 defeat Red Wings

That would make everyone should up once and for all, even me.

Posted by: tominsocal1
and Tom for... the... WIN!

but since I hate the Pens more I'll say...

Round 1 defeat Habs
Round 2 defeat Pens
Round 3 defeat Flyers
Round 4 defeat Red Wings

Posted by: FrankM73 | March 11, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

ECF will prob be 1/2 Philadelphia...

Posted by: seth_malaguerra | March 11, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh, defeat of Pens is "with Crosby." For certain. Watching him lose is almost as much fun as watching Caps win. Best thing of all, on the whole Earth, would be Caps defeat Pens at home to win EC on an overtime, hat trick goal by Ovechkin. So here's 20,000 hats flying down on the ice while Crosby has to go through the handshake line. Then McGuire puts his arm around Crosby and the mike up to his face to do an interview and all Cindy can say is:

"Just go away, Pierre, just go away! Can't you see I'm sad? Did you see those hats? All those hats? It was (sounding like Porky Pig) despicable!"

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 11, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

@Aldred - think I agree with all those, except the Canes, I'm still not sold on Ward for one, and two, Corvo's playing 25 mins per game for them. Maybe others are correct and his time here was an aberration - but no way Joe Corvo's your #1 or 2 dman on a team with deep playoff aspirations.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | March 11, 2011 4:16 PM | Report abuse

anyone but the rangers first round. I too hope we get the penguins with a healthy crosby.

Posted by: opinionatedDbag | March 11, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Round 1 defeat Habs
Round 2 defeat Flyers
Round 3 defeat Pens
Round 4 defeat Red Wings

Posted by: tominsocal1 |

If the Caps were to win the SCF, that would definitely be the most satisfying road to take.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 11, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Good one tom, but I think it's Daffy Duck that says "desssssppppppicable!"

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 11, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Round one - defeat NYR
Round two - defeat Flyers
Round Three - defeat Pens
Finals - Defeat Redwings
Take one week off work to celebrate
Die happy

Posted by: capsfansince74 | March 11, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Rhino: Oh, you're right! Or was it Elmer Fudd? No, he was the "wascally wabbit." Yes, it was Daffy Duck who would spit while saying it!

Posted by: tominsocal1 | March 11, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't really follow any of vermonts arguments for or against a player. His 55 rant is not backed by legitimate reasoning or tied to a logical explanation

Posted by: BKBK | March 11, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse
----------------------

Sorry, BKBK, I missed this one. As usual, it's flattering to me whenever someone like yourself tries to be dismissive of my posts. I kinda get off on it the way Kenny "The Rat" Linseman used to get-off when booed by the opposition's fans.

But anyway, to refute your allegation that I don't back what I write with reasoning or logic, I invite you to search through the archives. The beginning of December was a particularly good time for my ****55 bashing as that's when BB rendered Rock Star a lame duck.

I'd repost some of the gems, but I'm not going to do the work for you. Also, I'll spare the regulars here (you know who you are) the pain of reading my words of truth as a measure of respect. I can't help it that you're just now making it onto the scene and haven't been subjected to my "rants," but know in my own delusional mind that I feel partly responsible for Erskine's newfound appreciation this year.

The Big Oaf, ****55, Dork, Scultz.....whatever you want to call him, deference should never be given to him over JOHNNY ROCK STAR LUMBERJACK #4 ERSKINE! KICK SOME A@@, GO CAPS!!

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 11, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Vermont,

I appreciate that Erskine doesn't suck so bad that Sloan plays ahead of him.

Posted by: Steve_R | March 11, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

@steve_r

And you'll be even more glad come playoff time....obviously you've forgotten his monster playoff performances of '09 and '08, or perhaps you weren't a fan then.

DO ME PROUD ONCE AGAIN, BIG JOHN!

Posted by: vermontcaps | March 11, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Vermont, been a STH since 2007.

I'm sorry to break the news to you, but when Green is back #4 will be eating nachos most every night with Sloan.

Posted by: Steve_R | March 11, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

@vermontcaps:

First let me start by saying that, while I agree with you that Erskine has picked up his game in a lot of ways this year, And this has been good to see. But I must also say that he is better in some situations than in others.

That said, I must disagree with with you about Jeff Schultz--Yes, he has a name, like any other human being. Get used to it.

Just because Schultz doesn't destroy everyone who comes into his zone, doesn't make him ineffective as a defenseman. Knowing when to hit is more important and useful than hitting for its own sake.

Honestly, if I had to choose between JS55:

A) Laying out a highlight-reel check but taking himself out of the play in doing so,

OR

B) Separating the opposing forward from the puck without a collision but staying in the play to facilitate a Caps scoring chance...

...then I would choose (B) every time.

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 11, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Well put, Rhino. And I think that is part of Erskine's problem. I admire his heart and willingness for the physical game, but he lacks timing and puck control. While Schultz rarely displays "grit", he makes up for it in steady play and positioning... something the coaching staff sees and appreciates but is not acknowledged by a segment of the fan-base that would prefer bone-crushing hits at all cost.

Posted by: gonchpup | March 11, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm no fan of 55 but at least he knows how slow he is so he always stays back, unlike 4 who gets caught pinching in way too often.

Posted by: joek443 | March 11, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

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