When it comes to individual records against team success, the team usually wins. That held true on Sunday, as the Capitals announced that Braden Holtby won’t get the start in tonight’s game against the Anaheim Ducks.
Last night, Holtby tied Martin Brodeur’s record for most wins in a season with 48. Rather than risk losing their start goaltender in a meaningless game, the Capitals have decided they’ll rest Holtby and take a crack at the Stanley Cup instead.
Philipp Grubauer will get the start instead.
This decision doesn’t come as a total surprise, especially around Washington. Capitals goalie coach Mitch Korn indicated last week that Grubauer would probably get one start on the weekend.
“We will split them for two reasons,” Korn said last week, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “The first is, I know you can get hurt in any given game, but we’re not going to put ourselves in jeopardy. If (Holtby) got hurt in a back-to-back, you open yourself up. You’re just going to get shot at (by second-guessers). And we have to keep Philipp ready. So, he’s got to play a game.”
Whether or not you agree with the decision is irrelevant. You have to understand where the Capitals are coming from. A player like Alex Ovechkin has won everything there is to win when it comes to individual awards. Despite all the regular season success many of the Capitals have had, a championship still eludes them.
Keeping Holtby healthy for a potential cup run is the right call.
Of course, there’s always a chance that Holtby could be forced into this game and pick up the win without starting. Weirder things have happened.