Braden Holtby joined an NHL videoconference on Monday with two other Stanley Cup-winning goaltenders: the St. Louis Blues’ Jordan Binnington and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Matt Murray.
During the call, Holtby revealed that he has remained in the DC area with his wife Brandi and his two children, Ben and Belle. He sat in a room that included two guitars and a piano.
The most interesting question Holtby was asked was if he had figured out how to stop Alex Ovechkin’s shot from the Ovi Spot since he practices against him all the time.
The short answer is no. A hard no.
“I definitely know why no one else can figure it out,” Holtby said. “Because it doesn’t go where it’s supposed to. It’s like a pitcher in baseball who throws a 95 MPH knuckleball. It’s just – it moves likes crazy.”
Matt Murray agreed and said Ovechkin has the most difficult shot in the NHL to stop.
“Just kind of like Braden said it. It’s kind of like a knuckleball honestly. Probably because of that huge toe curve he uses,” Murray said. “Sometimes it drops a foot or foot-and-a-half. Sometimes it wobbles in mid-air. Sometimes it starts going high glove side and dips and curves low blocker. It’s crazy what movement he has on his shot. And the speed behind it too.”
As of February 2019, Ovechkin had scored 277 of his then 644 goals (44 percent) from the left circle or above, including 92 off on a one-timer during a powerplay.
In the past, goaltenders such as Carter Hutton have called the Ovi Shot from the Ovi Spot nearly impossible to stop.
“I truly think when he hits his spot it’s kind of an almost unsavable shot,” Hutton said. “I don’t think it’s physically possible when he picks his spot to be able to save it. You have to be cheating or get a piece.”
“I just try to do my best to shoot the puck and we’ll see what’s going to happen with it,” Ovechkin said.
“[W]e had some run-ins early on in my career,” Holtby said. “If you shoot that hard, you don’t really understand it. And I think he figured it out after a while once the coaches made us change the goalies on the starting unit so he didn’t hit us anymore. But no, it’s amazing. He’s, especially the last few years, he really respects us now. You can tell when he’s gone a couple games without scoring a goal, you know you’re not stopping much that practice on him. He’s trying to feel it again. It’s crazy”
Headline photo courtesy of NHL
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