The excitement of having a child just started for Holtby, and that could be a positive on the ice as well as in his life at home.
“You know it’s a big moment for him, but I think it’s going to give him more motivation,” captain Alex Ovechkin said. “I think right now he’s probably the happiest guy in the world. The way he’s playing, what happens in his personal life it’s great and we’re going to help him and we’re going to support him.”
Aucoin, who became a dad at age 33 on Feb. 29 when his wife, Maureen, gave birth to Brayden Michael remarked that he wouldn’t have been prepared for this at 22.
“He’s a mature kid, and for his age he’s really mature and he’ll be a great father,” Aucoin said.
The intangible benefits of being a father might help Holtby’s maturity, which is already beyond his years. Handling a quick rise to fame is hard, but raising a child is on a different level.
“It’s fun. I had a kid. I played my best hockey after I had my kid. I think it maybe relaxes him even more,” forward Jason Chimera said. “I think it’s one of those things that just puts a whole lot of things into perspective and hockey’s not the be-all, end-all. I think it’s a good thing. When I had my kids I think I started playing better as a person and better as a hockey player. So I think it goes hand-in-hand.”
Then again Holtby on Friday didn’t want to get too introspective about the whole situation. Singularly focused, his mind is already on Madison Square Garden, Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and the Rangers.
“It’s still the same game. It’s still hockey,” he said. “The main thing you learn when you turn professional is to separate personal life from hockey, and that’s what we’re going to do here.”