Next Thursday, the Washington Capitals will open the season in Pittsburgh. After being eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Penguins in six games, the Capitals will be present as Pittsburgh hosts their banner raising that night. On Wednesday, Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby downplayed that significance during an interview with DC101’s Elliot in the Morning.
“Yeah, it’s just another game,” Holtby said. “We’re gonna prepare a bit next week to be ready for Game 1.”
The reigning Vezina Trophy also spoke about being back in DC, his experience with Team Canada during the World Cup, and the So Kids Can Play starting lineup fundraiser.
I can only imagine, especially the way that game ended against Europe in Toronto, that city had to be a MAD HOUSE when that game ended.
Braden Holtby: Yeah, I mean we obviously didn’t see much because we were in the locker room, but it was pretty cool. It was a good experience all around.
Just the experience of being there and spending time with Team Canada, maybe a little more closely with Carey Price and Crawford. Do you come out of there going ‘that was a really special experience to be a part of’?
Braden Holtby: Yeah that was probably the best part of it, getting to spend some time with those guys and learn from their games and soak it all in and try to take a little bit from them than can make me better.
And Price had a really good tournament.
Braden Holtby: Yeah, he played really well. Made the saves when necessary and let the big guns run.
Was there anybody on Team Canada that you kinda bonded with more so than you thought you would going into it?
Braden Holtby: Not really, I mean it’s a pretty good group of guys, pretty easy to get along with. But most guys have friends and family there, so it’s a little different than you’d expect just based on it being in Toronto. A lot of guys from Ontario, so you get to know them at the rink and such, but it’s pretty busy.
I was reading some stuff where some guys really liked that it forced them to get “game ready” earlier than they would’ve if they went through the traditional training camp. Where you were forced into camp earlier, then you had to be ready to play a tournament. Then there were some guys that said it kind of changed what would be a normal, off season schedule to start getting ramp up. Where do you fall on that list?
Braden Holtby: It didn’t change my training too much. I just tried to get ready a couple weeks earlier and that’s about it. Obviously, not playing as many games as I usually would have, so that’s going to be a challenge but we’ll get through it.
In terms of you personally, was it helpful having Barry Trotz there with you?
Braden Holtby: Yeah, I mean it was good. He helped out getting in work at the end of practice. But like I said, it’s pretty quick you don’t have too much time to practice based on so many teams in one building. So yeah, it was helpful.
I would imagine learning from coaches, having people like Babcock and Quenneville there was also pretty cool?
Braden Holtby: Yeah, the whole staff and team, it was pretty neat to see the preparation and stuff, what different guys do. It was a fun experience that way.
Was it nice to get back, comfortable in Kettler and surrounded by the Caps?
Braden Holtby: Yeah, I was definitely looking forward to it. It’s not fun missing training camp with the guys here. This is our team here, so you don’t want to miss any of it. I was really looking forward to getting back.
You get preseason games tonight, Friday, and then on Sunday. Then obviously the season will get ready to go on Thursday. Kinda sucks that we open in Pittsburgh, but I mean you gotta open somewhere.
Braden Holtby: Yeah, it’s just another game. We’re gonna prepare a bit next week to be ready for Game 1.
This Sunday will be the preseason finale we have our So Kids Can starting lineup fundraiser going on, where the person that bids the most amount of money will meet with Barry Trotz before the game, then will get to put together their starting lineup, walk into the locker room while everybody’s in there and then announce to the team who’s starting. Which, by the way, I think is pretty freakin’ cool that the team is letting us do that.
Braden Holtby: Yeah, it’s pretty special, it’s going to be a really cool opportunity. Not many people get to do that ever. Hopefully they bring us a little good luck, I’m sure they will. And it will be a very cool experience for us and for them.
Other than seeing it a handful of times on TV, it’s just the coaching staff that’s in there and the players and that’s it.
Braden Holtby: Yeah, it’s pretty closed door. You’re focused on the game and that’s the goal. So it will be a really behind-the-scenes moment that not many people will get to do. But it’s worth it, it’s going to a very good cause.
For inside the Caps room, is there a ritual that takes place like when every name gets called out?
Braden Holtby: It’s different, sometimes you go on a winning streak so you keep things the same. But it’s not exactly the same all the time, so you switch it up here and there.
You have your own set of pregame things that you go through…do you have any pregame locker room things that go on?
Braden Holtby: Yeah, I mean it’s all part of the routine it’s just the way I prepare or whatever. I guess this is an opportunity for whoever bids the most to see that in action.
Because I remember Karl Alzner telling me at one point about how he and Carlson had this whole thing that started at a certain time where there’s the clock counting down to when you guys have to leave and one of them has to put on their helmet first, and the other one has to do their elbow pads and then one gets up before the other one gets up and they’ll try to stretch it until the end. But I would imagine there’s a thousand of those things that go on.
Braden Holtby: Yeah, everyone has their own routine they go through. I think Karl’s toned it down a little bit with the superstition. So, I don’t know if there will be as many as there was, but there definitely are a few, you catch on if you saw them over and over again.
3:00 tomorrow afternoon is when all the bidding will close this year all the money will go to So Kids Can. This year all the money will go to Martha’s Table. But we’ve been on a nice run, we did the Georgetown University Hospital- the Pediatric Oncology Ward, we just did Horton’s Kids over the summer and brought them a great big check. I feel with So Kids Can with you, Alzner, and Backstrom we’re on a really nice run right now.
Braden Holtby: Yeah, the other guys especially you know Mike and Brooks did the hard work for us, obviously Nick too, getting it started. We’re trying to build it every year and little things like this are gonna help a lot.
I assume since I’m talking to you, you are not playing tonight?
Braden Holtby: Not actually real sure. We’ll see.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.