Washington Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis might be a bit biased, but it’s hard to argue his pick for the “best sports photo of the decade.”
Thursday, on Twitter, Leonsis nominated an overhead shot of Braden Holtby’s “The Save” as the best sports photo taken in the 2010s.
— Ted Leonsis (@TedLeonsis) December 26, 2019
The photo shows Braden Holtby making a stick save on Alex Tuch on May 30, 2018. The Capitals, down 1-0 in the Stanley Cup Final, were clinging to a 3-2 lead late in Game Two. A weird bounce off a dump-in went right to a hard-charging Cody Eakin. The former Capitals draft pick slid a cross-ice pass to Alex Tuch who fired a one-timer at the yawning net. Holtby reacted and reached across his body, incredibly stopping the puck with the shaft of his stick.
“It shouldn’t be possible,” Lars Eller said that night. “It would have been hard to go out having them tie the game on a weird bounce off the end boards that comes out of nowhere that you feel like they didn’t deserve and then the guy gets the empty-netter. Holts comes up big.”
The Capitals would hold on to win Game Two and win the next three games to capture their first Stanley Cup in team history.
“The photo is amazing because it caught the exact moment that the puck hit the stick,” Patrick McDermott, the Capitals’ longtime team photographer and a fellow Getty Images contributor, said. “Cameras only work so fast so there is a bit of luck getting the puck right there.”
Miller, who was set up high in the lower bowl of T-Mobile Arena to photograph the game, used a second, remote camera to take the breath-taking photo. Miller also snapped this photo from the lower bowl.
“A remote camera is installed well before the game. We can trigger it from the camera we are already using,” McDermott said. “So ahead of time, he had to aim the camera and pre-focus it. Then during the game, he had to trigger it at the exact moment.”
McDermott added that “there is a lot of safety gear involved to make sure the camera is secured” that high in the arena and noted that “it’s how we get photos from inside goal nets too.”
The iconic photo has gone on to be the most recognizable images of “The Save.” Holtby has even signed hundreds of prints of the photo which are available in the Capitals Team Store.
“Remotes allow us to get photos from where we can’t be,” McDermott said.
Holtby’s historic stop has also been getting attention this week as the best save of the decade.
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) December 26, 2019
Though there is one player who does not agree.
“It was not my best save ever,” Braden Holtby said. “No way.”
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