Sportress of Blogitude

Capitals’ Braden Holtby gives stick to Penguins fan battling cancer (vid)


The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins may be in the midst of a contentious postseason battle, but that didn’t stop Braden Holtby from setting the rivalry aside to help make the day of a young fan who roots for the opposition.

During Wednesday’s morning skate before Game 4 of the teams’ second-round series, the Capitals goaltender skated over to the boards and handed his goalie stick to Brian Azinheira, a 11-yr old Penguins fan battling cancer.

Holtby later discussed his incredibly thoughtful gesture.

“It’s what we play the game for is to create positive influences on people,” Holtby said, via WJLA-TV. “The Penguins are doing a great thing having him as their guest and luckily we got to share a little part of that and hopefully make his day a little better.”

As noted by Holtby, Azinheira was a guest of Penguins center Nick Bonino. The young hockey player even got to meet superstars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Marc-Andre Fleury during his visit.

Doctors discovered a cancerous tumor in his arm after Azinheira suffered an injury playing hockey. A diagnosis of osteosarcoma followed and his treatment plan consists of 10 weeks of chemotherapy before undergoing a surgical procedure on his arm. An additional 17 weeks of chemotherapy will then follow.

While Azinheira certainly faces a tough road ahead, at least for one day perhaps he could forget about the obstacles that lie ahead. And it’s pretty awesome that Holtby felt compelled to take part in it.

Even better for the youngster? The Penguins went out and beat the Capitals 3-2 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.

[H/T Russian Machine Never Breaks]