Braden Holtby got some words of advice from a very trusted source, “I have no future, I have no past, my goal is to make the present last”.
Focus on the present, not the last game and not the next one, a reminder dolled out by Registered Sports Psychologist John Stevenson, M.A, M.A.C.P.
Stevenson has worked with Holtby for many years, long before the Vezina Trophy winning goaltender ever made it to the NHL.
Unfortunately, after helping to steal Game 3 for the Capitals, Holtby was chased from the net in Game 4. Stevenson’s words of advice need to be heeded now more than ever if the Capitals want to stay in this Second Round Playoffs series.
“I was like, Braden, does the goal post know that it’s a big game?” Stevenson said of his conversations with Holtby, “Does the puck know that it’s a big game? You’re playing on the same ice surface you played back in October. [Holtby]’s so good at mentally rebounding. He has that skill to park it and let it go and just get back to being Braden. He did it in the Toronto series, too”.
It’s a message Capitals fans should take to heart too.
“You treat one period, one shift, one game at a time. The momentum doesn’t have to carry over to the next game. It’s a clean slate,” Stevenson said, adding:
“For fans, the biggest thing is to just be supportive. Braden’s a good goalie and he’s done well and he will do well, and it’s just trusting that. I think that’s the biggest thing. When they’re back in Washington, just be the biggest, loudest, noisiest building cheering. You control the controllable. You’re bringing your focus to the here and now”.
The Capitals take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in do-or-die Game 5 on Saturday, May 6th in Washington. The Capitals face elimination at home with the Penguins leading the series 3-1.