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World Cup

Braden Holtby: Carey Price should start at World Cup

Capitals goalie says 'no reason' for Team Canada not to go with Canadiens' No. 1 at tournament

by Katie Brown / Correspondent

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, but he doesn't think that means he's the favorite to start for Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey 2016.

Holtby says Carey Price should be.

"All of us want to play, but if Carey's healthy, there's no reason to not go with him," Holtby said. "He has all the experience internationally and the smart choice obviously would be that. I'm going to go there and play hard, [do] what I do, support the team in any way possible, whether it's playing or supporting another guy."

Video: NYI@MTL: Price slides over to stone Okposo in tight

Holtby, Price (of the Montreal Canadiens) and Corey Crawford (of the Chicago Blackhawks) are the goaltenders on the Canada roster.

Price missed 70 games last season after he sprained his MCL on Nov. 25. He won a gold medal with Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and has the most international experience of the three. Price won the Vezina Trophy in 2015 when he went 44-16-6 and had a 1.96 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage in 66 games. Prior to his injury last season, Price was 10-2-0 with a 2.06 GAA and a .934 save percentage.

Holtby won 48 games last season, which tied Martin Brodeur's single-season NHL record (set with the New Jersey Devils in 2006-07), and played in the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game. Holtby represented Canada in the U-18 World Junior Championship in 2007, allowing two goals on 12 shots in 8:50 of ice time. 

Crawford has won the Stanley Cup twice (2013, 2015) but has never represented Canada internationally.

"It's something I haven't got to do, really, yet," Holtby said. "It'll be fun to see the crowd and the atmosphere, especially on home soil."

The eight-team tournament begins Sept. 17 with all games to be played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Holtby is one of eight Capitals players competing in the World Cup. Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov will play for Team Russia; John Carlson, Matt Niskanen and T.J. Oshie for Team USA; and Nicklas Backstrom for Team Sweden. Barry Trotz is one of the assistant coaches for Team Canada.

Video: WSH@PIT, Gm6: Holtby robs Hagelin with unreal save

"It'll speed things up a bit, but at the same time it's going to be more condensed to make sure we're getting the team atmosphere here that we want because lot of guys will be gone, [and] obviously Barry," Holtby said. "It condenses the time that we have before the season to make sure we're on the same page here. That's going to be a challenge."

Holtby, who helped the Capitals win the Presidents' Trophy, said he was dealing with a knee injury during their Eastern Conference First Round series against the Philadelphia Flyers. No offseason procedures were necessary and the knee is fine, Holtby said.

Besides getting back on the ice a few weeks earlier than he normally would in the summer, preparation for the World Cup doesn't change much for Holtby.

"It brings different challenges to it, but the main thing is making sure I use the time before our season starts here to make sure I'm ready for the real season," Holtby said.

The Capitals were eliminated in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, which has only made Holtby hungrier for a championship.

"The expectation I have is a Stanley Cup," Holtby said. "Personal things aside, it doesn't really matter. It's focusing on winning games here with the Capitals every day at a time and see what we can accomplish this year. Everything else doesn't make a difference."

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