Before the Hershey Bears took the ice Saturday night against the Lehigh...
Philipp Grubauer So Close, Yet So Far
Grubauer practices before the game on Thursday. (Photos by Caps Outsider)
Reading/Hershey/Washington goaltender Philipp Grubauer may only be 21 years old, but if his play in the minors is any indication, he’s ready to make a permanent leap to the NHL. With Michal Neuvirth sitting out sick on Thursday, Grubauer made his second trip to Washington to back up starter Braden Holtby.
“It’s never easy going back and forth, but it’s the NHL so it’s good,” Grubauer said after taking in a 7-1 Caps victory from the bench. During the lockout, Grubauer was a starter in Reading, and was occasionally called up to Hershey. Now, random opportunities bring him to D.C., but there’s no telling when he’ll get a permanent position. With Holtby re-signed, and Neuvirth a restricted free agent at the end of this season, Grubauer will need to wait to see what moves the Caps make before he can expect to see consistent time in the NHL.
Grubauer made his NHL debut against the Flyers on Feb. 27, playing about half of the game after Holtby was pulled in a 4-1 loss. Grubauer stopped all 14 shots he faced.
“It feels good. You wanna be up here, that’s the league you wanna make. That’s my goal. Being in the NHL, every second up here it’s good and I’ve done a lot up here and I try to focus on the game.”