Oates says Holtby 'our No. 1 guy'

Oates says Holtby 'our No. 1 guy'
December 16, 2013, 4:15 pm
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Oates on erasing deficit: 'Hockey can be weird at times'

(Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

When it comes to goaltending in the NHL, three’s always a crowd. But for the time being, that’s what the Capitals are faced with now that a healthy Michal Neuvirth has joined Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer.

“We just have to figure it out,” Caps coach Adam Oates said Monday. “…It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s the situation we’re in right now.”

Oates said all three goalies would make the trip to Philadelphia for Tuesday night’s rematch against the Flyers but he would not name his starter or say how long the team would keep three goalies.

“It’s a tough decision,” Oates said. “George [McPhee], Olie [Kolzig] and I have talked about it a lot. [Grubauer] has done great, but because it’s such a short window you have to put it in perspective.

“It’s given Holts a chance to rest a little and be ready for this week and give Neuvy [lower body injury] a chance to heal He really helped us out and by doing that he showed some really good things in this league.”

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Grubauer, 22, went 3-0-1 in his four appearances since being recalled from the Hershey Bears and unless the Capitals decide to trade Neuvirth, he’s likely to be sent back to Hershey later this week.

Holtby has won three of his last four decisions but allowed three goals on eight shots and was pulled for Grubauer in the Caps’ wild 6-5 shootout win over the Lightning last Tuesday.

“Holts has been our Number One guy and he is our Number One guy,” Oates said. “That’s his mindset.”

Oates added it’s a “good chance” Holtby returns to the nets Tuesday night, one week after his last start.

“It’s never easy not playing,” Holtby said. “Everybody would say that. At the same time it’s a long season. All you can do is when you get the opportunity to play you do everything you can to help the team win.”

Holtby [13-9-1, 2.82, .920] said that aside from a few “stick on stick” goals he’d like to have back, he thinks he’s played well this season. He spent the past week working on foot positioning.

“You understand the reasoning behind it, but you never expect it to happen,” he said of sitting out behind Grubauer. “You’d like to play every game and never give a coach a reason to take you out I’ll use it to my advantage and be ready when called upon.”

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