Unless you live under a rock, then you’ve heard the news… Braden Holtby signed a two year contract for $4.3M/AAV with the Vancouver Canucks. This blog is one that we never wanted to write, never imagined writing, but find ourselves smiling while writing as we look back at the greatest moments of Holtby’s career here in DC, on and off the ice. This is a joint blog by all of us here at Chirpin’ DMV. We’ll each write a section on our favorite Holts moments and share the joy that we’ve had watching him during his decade in a Capitals uniform. Before we get into his stats and accomplishments, watch this video from the Caps and cry your fuckin’ eyes out.

*wipes tears off the keyboard*

Okay, now that we’ve got that out of our system, let’s take a look back at how good Braden Holtby truly was. The Capitals drafted Holts in the 2008 draft, selecting him in the 4th round with the 93rd pick. With the Hershey Bears, he won 74 of 132 games, never posted lower than a .906 sv%, and won the 2010 Calder Cup. With the Capitals, he won 282 games, posted 35 shutouts, had a .916 sv% and 2.53 GAA while playing 26,828 minuets in net. He won 50 playoff games with 7 shutouts with a .926 sv% and a 2.13 GAA. Obviously, his most impressive accomplishment was the 2018 Stanley Cup Championship, in which the most memorable moment was the save. He was the 2016 Vezina winner, and was the runner-up the following year. 2016 proved to be a big year for him, as he also won gold with team Canada in the World Cup of Hockey and was a finalist for the NHL’s Ted Lindsay award for most outstanding player as voted on by other players. Holts was also the second fastest goalie to 200 NHL wins, accomplishing the feat in just 319 games. We didn’t only love the beast for what he did on the ice here in DC, but what he did off the ice in what he did for our community from schools visits, to pride parades, and more that we’ll get in to later in this blog. With that being said, let’s get into our bloggers favorite memories of Holtbeast.

DJ

Braden Holtby entered every game with his game-face, ready to pick up a win for the Capitals. He was the team’s backbone, doing everything in his power to save a puck from entering the net from the opposing team. On and off the ice, Holtby was a leader. After every loss, he pinpointed exactly what needed to be done to be better. After every win, he went back out next game trying harder than the game before. Although Holtby appeared stone-cold and in the zone during every goalie appearance, he was everything but that off the ice. Braden is an activist; he believes in equality for all and partakes in trying to make the world a better place. He came forward about the BLM movement and how change needs to be done, stating, “America will never be great until all black lives matter.” Braden was also actively involved in the LGBTQ+ community, attended pride parades, and made it known that it IS okay, and there’s nothing wrong with loving whoever you love. I can only imagine how much of a light Holtby was towards the Capitals organization, just wanting to be a friend of everybody. Braden, thank you for all of your saves, wins, usage of voice, and having the kind heart that you’ve always had.

Coach

We made sure we didn’t write about the same stuff in this blog, or else you probably would have seen the save about six different times in here. I’ve got a few things here that I think of when Holts is mentioned, and we’ll start with the back-to-back shutouts in game 6 and 7 vs Tampa in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals. Like, holy shit. We go up 2-0, think we’re gonna breeze to a cup appearance, then we drop three straight games and it appears that the Caps of old were back and the Bolts would boot us in 6. INSERT THE BEAST and wow, those two games were unbelievable. Holts would stop all 24, including the one below, in route to a 3-0 Caps victory to force the deciding game 7.

Holtby would then turn around for game 7 and stop all 29 shots faced to help the Caps advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in franchise history. Back-to-back shutouts and 53 combined saves for the Beast, and my god what a two game stretch here. I literally thought we were never going to get scored on again, like, ever. He’s a crucial breakaway he stopped in that game to keep the Caps ahead by 2.

Here’s the other thing I think of when you mention Braden Holtby, and thats how bad he owned the Boston Bruins. Holts has a 18-4-0 against the Bruins, including four shutouts with a .939 sv% and 1.98 GAA… I MEAN, come on hahahaha. Boston – you may call him daddy. Oh wait, did I mention that 18-4-0 record includes 12 STRAIGHT WIN’S in it?! Let’s not forget the 2012 first round series against the defending champion Bruins, Holtby’s coming out party some, including myself, will say. The series goes to game 7 and Holtby stops 31 of 32 as the Caps defeat Tim Thomas and the Bruins in OT.

Last thing i’ll bring up on my end here, and everyone has their favorite parts of when the Caps ran around the city blacked out after winning the cup. Every single video and pic were fuckin’ hilarious, watching the guys go bananas and running in fountains and getting tattoos, etc etc. Here’s my fav pic of Holts, holding sweet V’s hand while he get’s tatted up, drunk as hell, eyes barley open, and video taping him at the same time. Braden you LEGEND.

AB

Braden Holtby. Man. What a legend. Too many memories, too many big saves to talk about. Obviously “The Save” that we’ve already mentioned may go down as the greatest moment of all time in Washington Capitals history. Right next to the Kuzy OT goal, and the Lars Eller game winner. However, I think one of my favorite moments with Braden Holtby was his first series against the Boston Bruins. He played only 7 games that season. People forget we brought in Thomas Vokoun that year to hopefully bring us over the hump. And he was backed up by Michael Neuvirth. Both are injured. And the caps are forced to go with their 3RD STRING TENDER. BRADEN FUCKIN HOLTBY. So what does this guy do in the big stage with all eyes on him? He posts a .940 save percentage in the series including a 44 save performance in a HUGE game 4 for a 2-1 victory to keep the Caps from going down 3-1 in the series. And then puts up 31 saves in GAME FUCKIN 7 for another 2-1 win and cements his spot as THE GUY in the Washington Capitals organization. After that, the rest is history. Vezina winner, comes through in the playoffs EVERY SINGLE YEAR. STANLEY CUP CHAMPION. WASHINGTON CAPITAL LEGEND.

Now don’t get me wrong, there were definitely times throughout his time here in Washington where he would piss me off to no end. He’s let up some stinkers. He’s had rough stretches. And I would be pretty hard on him as a fan. We demand perfection from our guys. Unfair to ask for that, but its what we do anyways. That’s what being a sports fan is. But there is not another guy I would ever want in front of our net than Braden Holtby in the playoffs. Rough stretch in the regular season? Give him some rest, and make sure he’s good to go come April. See 2018 for reference. What an incredible run he had with us. Legend forever. Who knows, may even see a statue of “The Save” later down the road. We’ll miss ya Braden. One of the best to ever do it in a Washington Capital sweater on and off the ice. And you know damn well that number will be getting retired. Thanks Holts.

Ben

Braden Holtby leaving is like moving away from your childhood home in like high school. Like yeah, you knew it was going to happen, but it still sucks when it happens and you have to leave all your friends. He was the guy in net for the better part of a decade in D.C. and, not to mention, a complete stud. I wrote an entire article about how sick this guy is, just a complete beauty (plugging my own work and saying beauty, what a sentence). However, it is official. Braden Holtby is a Vancouver Canuck. Because of this, we have to move on. As some random sign I read in a store recently said, “There’s no sense looking back at the past; You aren’t headed that way.” And that’s how we have to look at it. We move forward and wish Braden and his family all the best for putting in years of phenomenal work and helping the boys lift the Stanley Cup for the first time. Now let’s dive into some memories that I will always keep of Holtby and what made him so special as a member of the Washington Capitals.

For me, the first thing that comes to is how calm he was. The guy never looked nervous or pissed off once. Even if a shitty goal went in, he would just squirt his water, put the helmet down and get back to it. The ice in his veins was never on display greater than when he pulled a Kobe Bryant and didn’t flinch when Rich Peverley pretended to swing his stick at him 

That’s just humiliating for Peverley. Holts stands there, arms crossed, like he’s waiting to see Peverley actually do something of value. This was in Holtby’s debut playoff series where the Caps won in overtime of Game 7. It was his crease from that point on.

It was tough to nail down one highlight of his, so I’ll just mention that the man had BACK-TO-BACK SHUTOUTS IN GAMES 6 AND 7 OF THE EASTERN CONFERENCE FINAL AGAINST THE TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING. It was crazy. The guy didn’t start in the playoffs, and then decided, “wait a minute, I’ll just be the greatest.” And he was. Shut down the Bolts and then dummied Vegas in the Cup Final. It was his best stretch of hockey and at the most important time. He was always a great playoff goalie, but this was on another level.

Holtbeast wasn’t all serious when he was in the nation’s capital (not my nation’s, mine is Ottawa which is sorta garbage). Think about when the Caps were going on their Stanley Cup run – which Holtby played a decent role in as I mentioned. After the Caps won Game 7 against the Lightning, Holts and Alex Ovechkin were on the podium together answering questions from the media about going to the Cup Final for the first time in their careers. Ovi was asked a question and was struggling with his answer as he was overcome with emotion. Holtby had an all-time response, showing a bit more personality than we’re used to (2:02 when the quote happens). 

Finally, something I will just always remember about Holtby was how cool this damn guy was. Long, slicked hair; The fullest beard you’ve ever seen; played guitar because of course; Was an unreal goalie; Also, he dressed like a complete rockstar. I’m still working up the nerves to pull off one of those hats he wore so effortlessly all the time. You know the hat I’m talking about and you haven’t even seen a photo yet.

He was the man, and I always felt so lucky that the undisputed coolest goalie in the league was a Capital. He isn’t anymore, but he was a part of the greatest Capitals’ memory that fans have, and for that we need to say thanks. Thank you, Braden Holtby. You were one of a kind.

The Bobcat

The day we knew would eventually come; The only goaltender to backstop the Washington Capitals to a Stanley Cup Championship has left. The Vezina Trophy and William M. Jennings Trophy winner Braden Holtby joins his former Capital teammates in Vancouver. Everyone knew this day would come eventually and The Holtby Era in Washington is officially over. It would be easy to focus on his on his list of on ice accomplishments, but it is important to remember Holtby for the person he was off the ice.

While playing as the #1 goalie in Washington Holtby was a 1st Team All Star in activism. The NHL has grown leaps and bound over the last few years in activism and inclusivity. With out people like Braden Holtby getting out and marching in the DC Pride Parade every year the NHL would be worse for the wear. In a sport where it is unpopular to be unique or standout from the team mentality, a farm kid from Saskatchewan chose to speak out on important topics like the LBGTQ community, the Human Rights Campaign and BLM. You can replace wins, shutouts or big saves but the Capitals organization will not be able to replace the impact Braden and Brandi Holtby made off the ice. Thank you #70 for everything

Stat Guy Blake

During his time in Washington, including both the regular season, and the playoffs, Holtby stopped the puck from entering the net 15,028 times. But one of them stands head and shoulders above the rest. You know which one I’m talking about. It’s The Save.

By itself it’s one of the most incredible saves I’ve ever seen. After a crazy bounce off the boards (which nearly banked in off of Holtby) the puck went to an absolutely wide open Alex Tuch. The only thing between him and 24 square feet of twine was literally nothing. And some how Holtby turned his entire body around, and got his stick in front of it.

And that doesn’t even get into the huge implications of keeping that puck out. Up by 1 late in the 3rd, if that goal goes in, Vegas ties it, and likely has all the momentum going into overtime. Going down 2-0 in the series, while not completely fatal, would still have been disastrous. Without this one save, we might have some very different memories of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final.

Thank you for everything, Braden. I hope to hell we sign you at the end of your career so you can retire a Capital.

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