The Dallas Stars are in Washington, DC to take on the Washington Capitals and many have had this game penciled in on their schedules for a long while due to it being the possible first in-game return to the area of beloved goaltender Braden Holtby.
Well, that possibility is apparently no longer valid. According to Stars coach Rick Bowness via The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks, Holtby will miss his fifth game in a row due to a lower-body injury.
Jake Oettinger got the start for Dallas on Saturday against the New York Islanders with rookie Adam Scheel as his backup. If the Stars don’t plan on Oettinger playing both halves of a back-to-back, Scheel will get his first career NHL start against the Caps, Sunday.
“Just be ready,” Bowness said of Scheel before the Islanders game. “We’re telling him every day and goaltending coach Jeff Reese is working him. Just be ready. Could be halfway through this game, you got to be ready. That’s his job, see where it goes.”
Holtby had started the home portion of the Capitals and Stars season series, his first game against his former team since leaving after the 2019-20 season.
The 2018 Stanley Cup-winning goaltender gave up five goals to his former teammates, eventually yielding the net to Oettinger in the third period. While the pull was bittersweet, there was one positive. It gave Holtby an opportunity to catch up with his teammates from between the benches.
“We just talked about life, I think,” Nicklas Backstrom said. “How his family was and he asked about mine. We actually didn’t talk about the game at all.”
Holtby and his wife Brandi sold their home before they left for the Vancouver Canucks in 2020 but have since bought a new house in the D.C. area where they plan to live full time when he retires.
“Hockey is obviously what we do but there’s a lot outside of it,” Holtby said in January when asked about his past in DC. “Relationships you make and people that helped you in different ways that you’re forever grateful for. I remember Mitch Korn always use to tell me, ‘It’s a game of people, not pucks.’ That kind of stuck with me. That’s where my family grew up. That’s home for me. It’s pretty special to see those people again and catch up with.”
There was some trade speculation around Holtby as the NHL trade deadline approaches, but after netminder Anton Khudobin had season-ending hip surgery that trade potential weakened. Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman went as far as saying “it’s safe to say Braden Holtby will remain with the team.”
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.