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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.

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