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Holtby hopes challenge from Grubauer makes him better

Dec 29, 2013, 1:10 PM EDT

Braden Holtby Getty Images

Philipp Grubauer has shaken the foundation of the Washington Capitals’ goaltending situation with his strong play. He’s made Michal Neuvirth wonder about his future with the Capitals while Braden Holtby‘s standing as the team’s starter is in question, despite Capitals coach Adam Oates’ assurances to the contrary.

Unlike Neuvirth, Holtby isn’t openly wondering about his standing over this. Instead he’s talking about how this experience might make him a better netminder.

“It’s never fun when you’re going through it,” Holtby told CSN Washington. “It’s frustrating and everything you don’t want emotionally, but what true professionals do, and in the end what winners can do, is you take adversity and use it to your advantage and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

It wasn’t long ago that Holtby was pulling off a similar coup. He forced himself into the picture with a strong showing in the 2012 playoffs despite the fact that he had just 21 games worth of NHL experience at the time. From there he firmly beat Michal Neuvirth in the battle for the starting job.

He just has to hope that he ends up faring better than Neuvirth has.

  1. westof1club - Dec 29, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Outside of his playoff run, Holtby hasn’t really proven himself at the NHL level. Neuvirth has had better stretches in the regular season and consistently has much better focus than Holtby, who routinely gives up soft goals from lack of concentration or nonchalance in his puck handling. Grubauer has shown focus and consistency since his very 1st call up a couple years ago, and plays with a determination based on knowing he has to prove himself, while Holtby’s attitude often betrays the fact the Caps’ brass anointed him “the man” too quickly after a strong playoff run. Philipp looks like the real deal.

  2. cobra617 - Dec 29, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    This is easy for Holtby to remedy. He can play better…..or actually he can play more consistently. Holtby can be better than Grubauer when he is on. But the problem is that he isn’t always on. Grubauer gives them a known commodity. He is solid. He isn’t spectacular (which Holtby can be at times) but he is a steady presence in the net. Holtby can lay some eggs some times.

  3. ironyisadeadscene - Dec 29, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Caps are caught up in this “next hot goalie” carousel and have yet to have one pan out beyond a year or two

  4. vbcaps - Dec 29, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    I would love to see the caps with a Ryan miller caliber goalie…he looked sharp tonight

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