One of the hallmarks of television coverage in any sport's postseason: Finding a loved one in the crowd, keeping a camera on them and weaving their reaction shots into the visual narrative of the game. It's Carrie Underwood grimacing during a Mike Fisher fight. It's Archie Manning reacting to a hit on Eli or Peyton.
In Game 3 of the Washington Capitals' series against the New York Rangers, two more camera-ready stars were born: Mama and Papa Holtby (via @RonHNIC … no, not the real Ron MacLean):
Capitals goalie Braden Holtby's parents were featured prominently and frequently on CBC's coverage of Wednesday night's game, with NBC catching on much later in the triple overtime affair. At 14:41 of that final OT, Marian Gaborik finally put a second puck past the Capitals' 22-year-old goalie, much to the chagrin of his mother:
They became trending topics on Twitter in during the game, and even inspired a Washington Post photo gallery with their reactions to their son's 47-save performance in defeat.
So who are the two suddenly famous members of the Braden Holtby cheering section?
Greg and Tami Holtby live in Marshall, Saskatchewan, and watched Braden Holtby's first-round series win vs. the Boston Bruins on television, opening their doors to friends and family as the series reached seven games.
The Star Phoenix reported that the Holtby's "put aside their work on the farm long enough" to attend Game 2 of the Rangers series at MSG on Monday night, wearing Capitals gear; they blended in better at Verizon Center on Wednesday night.
With injuries to Vokoun and backup Michal Neuvirth heading into the post-season, the Caps turned to Holtby. The Lloydminster native didn't disappoint against the Bruins, posting a goals against average of 2.00 and a save percentage of .940.
"We always kind of say that everything happens for a reason," said Tami Holtby. "I guess that was it. He's been getting used to being bounced around the last couple of years. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary for him.
"He's learned to deal with it very well - better than I could, I know that. He seems to just go with it and try to do the best for whatever team's in front of him. He seems to be gelling very well with the team right now."
No word if they'll attend Saturday's Game 4 against the Rangers. But if they keep getting the camera time they received in Game 3, we might be seeing the "Evgeni Malkin's Parents" of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs; wonder if Tami Holtby cooks a mean borscht?