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Biron voices frustration with bad-angle goals


Biron voices frustration with bad-angle goals

If he could do it over and over again, Braden Holtby says he would stop Andreas Athanasiou’s bad-angle, game-winning shot Tuesday night 999 straight times. Former NHL goaltender and current television analyst Marty Biron has a different opinion.

“It was a pretty typical play,” Holtby told reporters following the Capitals’ 1-0 loss in Detroit Tuesday, a game decided by Athanasiou’s goal 4:06 into the second period. “Obviously, it’s not a goal you want to go in.

“I’ve played that shot a thousand times and I’ve never had a puck go in there. I don’t know why my pad came off the ice. I haven’t really seen a good replay to see where it came off, but I’m upset.”

So is Biron, who tweeted Tuesday night, “I hate goalies overusing the RVH. No need to go down here.”

Biron is referring to the reverse vertical horizontal (RVH), a goaltending move popularized by Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick during the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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“It’s a relatively new technique,” Biron said in a telephone interview on Wednesday, “and it’s good to use it in the right situation, but too many goalies use it too often. In my personal opinion, there’s only a handful of situations you should do it in a game.”

The RVH is a variation of the VH that became popular among goalies in the early 2000s when netminders began hugging the post with a vertical leg pad while going down to one knee in the middle of the crease with the horizontal pad.

But when Quick switched things up by putting his skate and pad low to the ice against the post, while keeping his middle-of-the-crease pad vertical (thus, reverse vertical horizontal) many goaltending coaches incorporated the new technique to seal off bad-angle goals.

On Tuesday night, Holtby went to the RVH just as Athanasiou approached the goal line from near the left wing boards.

“It’s a goal that shouldn’t go in, but I play that the same way every time,” Holtby said. “I don’t know if I had my equipment right or not. (The puck entered the net) right at the boot break there. It usually seals there. I don’t know what happened.”

In Biron’s opinion, the RVH method should only be used in three situations:

1. When a shooter makes a power move from behind the net and is within 5-10 feet between the trapezoiod and the goal line.

2. On attempted wraparounds, when a goaltender needs to move quickly from post-to-post.

3. On shots that are fired wide of the net and the puck caroms off the end boards and to the side of the net for potential rebound opportunities.

Biron said the dangers of going into the RVH on a wide-angle shot from the goal line – something Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth also did on a bad-angle goal by Jarome Iginla Tuesday night – is that the longer a goalie’s skate is pressed against the post, the greater the chance his leg will roll and create a small space between the top of his skate boot and the ice.

“I probably have 50 clips of goalies going down too early when they shouldn’t even be using it,” Biron said. “Jonathan Quick can do it because he’s a freak of nature. But to hold that position on the post is physically really hard. If you’re not leaning into the post, you’re leaning away from it. And now you’re seeing more and more shooters trying to find that opening. They’re either looking to put one under the (cross) bar or they’re shooting along the ice.”  

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

Four years ago, Capitals forward T.J. Oshie was the shootout king in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. This time around Gigi Marvin was one of the Americans who provided the extra-time heroics for Team USA at Pyeongchang, carrying the women’s hockey team to the gold medal.

Ironically enough, they both were the King and Queen of their high school’s dance back in 2005.

Marvin and Oshie both went to Warroad High School in Minnesota. They graduated from the same class in 2005. Nearly every high school in the country would wish for just one Olympian, this one got two legends in one class.

Oshie famously took the puck six times for Team USA in a shootout to beat Russia back in 2014. Marvin scored the first tally of the shootout in the gold medal game against Canada. The United States would go on to win the match in seven rounds.

Oshie would go on to congratulate his fellow Warroad alum after the match.

Whoever cast the deciding votes, must have known that these two destined for glory. One could now call them the King and Queen of Olympic shootouts.


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Caps prospect watch: Boyd dedicates 4-goal performance to daughter after week in the hospital


Caps prospect watch: Boyd dedicates 4-goal performance to daughter after week in the hospital

It would have been understandable if Travis Boyd struggled this past week. Something more important was on his mind.

Boyd spent the week in the hospital with his daughter, Hayden, who had been experiencing pain in her throat. He spent the enitre week in the hospital, not leaving until Hershey's game against Laval.

Boyd turned this trial into something incredible as he scored four goals Friday in Hershey's 6-3 win.

Boyd spoke about the ordeal with Zach Fisch of the Bears Radio Network (transcription via RMNB).

“It actually started after the game last Sunday against Rochester," he said. "I went straight from the rink to Urgent Care and then from Urgent Care to the ER. Never left the hospital until Friday morning. We had a successful surgery on Thursday night. Basically just a bad infection in her throat that had to be surgically removed. They had to surgically go in and kind of remove the bacteria and drain out the fluids. Everything went well. She’s doing well.”

Following the game, Boyd dedicated his performance to Hayden.

A four-goal game at the AHL level would have been an incredible accomplishment on its own. The fact that it came during such a trying time for him makes this a truly inspirational story.

You can watch highlights of the game including all four of Boyd's goals here:


Other prospect notes:

  • In the Bears' game Friday against Laval, Riley Barber dropped the gloves with Markus Eisenchmid.  Barber was given an extra minor and game misconduct for instigating the fight in the final five minutes of the game. That penalty carries with it an automatic one-game suspension which Barber served Saturday. Here's a look at the fight.

  • Liam O'Brien had a pair of two-goal games over the week, scoring twice against Laval Friday and then two more against Toronto on Monday. Of his four goals, three of them were empty netters.
  • As the Capitals prepare for their Stadium Series game in Annapolis on March 3, Annapolis mayor Gavin Buckley—a native of Perth, Australia—made a plea to see Nathan Walker recalled for the game.  “I’ll have to put a quick shout out to the one Australian that’s playing for the Caps now, Nathan Walker. If you could just bring him up for this game, that’d be great. Because an Australian being in a hockey game is like a Jamaican bobsled team. It doesn’t happen very often.”

  • Brian Pinho was honored Friday in Providence College's Senior Night. He has served as captain of the team this season and as an assistant captain in his junior year. He spoke with The Cowl on what being a leader on the team means to him. "I think being a leader of this team is a great honor, but also a huge responsibility. I try to keep everything fun at the rink, while also bringing some intensity and competing hard every day.” You can read the full story here.
  • Goalie Adam Carlson, who was on loan to the Indy Fuel of the ECHL, was reassigned to the Kansas City Mavericks also of the ECHL. He started two games for his new team and turned aside 42 of the 48 total shots he faced.

Who are the Caps' top 10 prospects? Find out here in his week's updated rankings.