The World Cup of Hockey ended on Thursday, but Capitals goalie Braden Holtby is wasting no time in trying to get back into the rhythm with the Caps. Despite the tournament ending just two days ago in Toronto, Holtby practiced in the morning skate and will start for the Caps in Saturday's preseason game against the New York Islanders.
Holtby can now add World Cup champion to his growing resume as Canada was able to defeat Europe in two games, but he did not play as active a role with the team as had hoped. Despite being the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Holtby found himself relegated to third on the depth chart behind Carey Price and Corey Crawford.
But Holtby turned his time with Team Canada into a learning experience. He worked closely with Crawford and said he learned a lot from the two-time Stanley Cup winner.
"I really appreciate his game," Holtby said Saturday after morning skate. "You don't get to see him very much obviously being out west. He does some things outstandingly well that I can learn from him and try to get better at. Great guy, works really hard and earns what he gets and that was probably the best part of the experience."
Though Holtby said he had expected to take the role of No. 3 and was prepared for to be last on the depth chart heading into the tournament, he also acknowledged it was difficult getting into game shape and then slowing things down when practice began.
"It was tough," Holtby said. "It's almost like starting all over again after the first week of camp there because there wasn't much action as a goalie."
Participating in the World Cup also meant missing part of Caps' training camp. The further Canada went, the more time he would miss. For most players, missing training camp was not an issue as they were playing games in a competitive tournament.
"They were playing so that changes a little bit," Holtby said of the other participants. "Defintely not game shape yet for me."
Not only did Holtby not play a single game at the World Cup, being third on the depth chart also meant less practice time. Still, he said he does not feel behind in his preparations for the season.
"I really haven't missed that much of camp," Holtby said. "We've played two games, it's not a lot. ... You can be in the best shape of your life, but it doesn't make a difference when it comes to the body movements that come with goaltending."
While not concerned, Holtby still realizes the importance of getting game reps which is why he is wasting no time getting into the lineup and he said he wanted to play in Saturday's game.
Said Holtby, "I wanted to get back as soon as I could, get on the ice and make sure I could use all the time I can."
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