I sit behind the Caps net where they defend both first and third periods. My goodness I picked a great section and great year to sit in that section.
Watching Braden Holtby become an All Star, Vezina Trophy finalist, record tying, elite goaltender was truly amazing.
Every game I felt I was helping Holts defend the net. When a goal would go in, I felt no pressure or stress because of the calmness of Holts’ routine where he squirts his water bottle. To watch a droplet fall actually makes you concentrate on that and not the celebration going on from the opposing team. He’s not shaking his head or slamming his stick; he just gets that much more focused on the next shot and makes incredible saves to lift the Caps back into the game.
Watching Holtby’s game day routine is quite a great experience. It starts with him coming out an hour before the game to the player’s bench in his workout clothes. Even that is a routine: a Caps sweatshirt and red shorts. Holts starts his pre-game routine of eye exercises, going through locking his focus to the nets and warming his hands up throwing his stick around in his hand. Next the Caps take the ice for warmups and Holts now in his goalie gear will wet his hair with a water bottle (this happens quite a bit throughout a game too) then dazzling the crowd with a series of moves in the face off circle on each side of the ice. Splits, sliding side to side and shaking his upper body around. Gosh, I could do a whole article on Holtby’s routines! But these routines help Braden focus and fans love to watch, take pictures and video all the routines. Most of the fans in my section change from game to game, but every time Holtby turns to spray water from his water bottle, cameras and phones go up to capture a memory of the Holtby routine.
I have learned a lot about the goalie position sitting behind the net. How quick the puck travels and how a goalie tracks that puck. The job of the visiting team to screen the goalie and how hard that is when you have defenseman like John Carlson, Karl Alzner, Brooks Orpik defending our goalie and net.
The goalie can steal a game for a team, and I have watched Braden Holtby do that this season, making saves and denying shots from becoming goals. The Holtbeast could slow down a game by making a save after a flurry of shots from the other team and give the Caps a chance to regroup and change the momentum of the game.
I renewed my seat for this next season in the same section. I look forward to learning much more about the great sport of hockey and the goalie position, actually all the positions but focusing on our goalie. And taking more great pictures for all of you to share what I enjoy!!
A very big thank you to Braden Holtby for an unbelievable season from your fans!