NEW YORK | Braden Holtby, even when he was playing well, talked about the need for improvement. If he allowed a bad goal, he was his harshest critic.
Even if it’s someone else’s fault, the young Washington Capitals goaltender doesn’t make that obvious.
“You see a lot of goalies when they get scored on put their hands up in the air looking around, seeing who is to blame,” forward Jason Chimera said. “He’s not that kind of guy. Most of the shots he thinks he can save.”
There are goaltenders all over the league and at all levels of hockey who stare down defensemen or forwards for blunders in front of them. Not Holtby.
“It’s one of my biggest pet peeves when goalies stare at a guy or throw his arms up in the air. It’s almost like they think we’re doing it on purpose, you know?” defenseman Karl Alzner said with a smile. “Everybody knows who’s fault it is. If it’s my fault, in know it and if it’s his fault he knows it. I’m not going to go and if a goal gets scored, I’m not going to go stare right at him or throw my arms up at him. I think it’s more of a respect thing. If he doesn’t do it, we don’t do it.”
Defenseman Jeff Schultz admitted not hearing Holtby’s self-critical postgame comments, but he knows the demeanor on ice is always cool.
“It’s not always his fault,” Schultz said. “I guess he puts that much pressure on himself to take the blame. At times maybe he doesn’t deserve it all. For him to battle through, saying that and putting all that pressure on himself, I think it shows a lot of character on his part.”
It’s a specific emphasis on Holtby’s part.
“It’s probably one of those things that I learned from a young age and am taught still. You put more blame on yourself because as a goalie your job is to make up for your teammates’ mistakes. You can’t be mad if they make them,” he said. “That’s your job. It’s hard sometimes. Sometimes it looks like you’re looking at your teammates when you’re kind of looking to the heavens. It looks bad, but my view on goaltending is you’re there to make up for your teammates mistakes, not to bring them down.”