Brian and Nicole Salcetti have been Caps season-ticket holders for four seasons. They read just about everything they can find about the team, and were watching Game 6 of the Rangers series on Wednesday night, just hours before going to the hospital for the birth of their first son.
So when they sent out the official notice that young Braden Salcetti had entered the world, well, yes, everyone assumed it was “Braden,” as in “Holtby.”
“Everybody,” Brian, 31, told me Friday morning, about 24 hours after becoming a first-time father. “We told them all that it’s not true. But it is a pretty cool story, and we’ll happily accept that rumor.”
Why is it a cool story? Well, for one thing, Nicole’s due date was Wednesday, which happened to be the date of Game 6 between the Rangers and the Caps. They weren’t using their seats — the doctor had told Nicole, 30, that she should probably stay home since Game 4 of the Bruins series — but they were watching at home, just hoping little Braden could wait for a few hours.
“I was sending all my friends e-mails and text messages, saying we have our priorities straight; we’re gonna make sure this baby stays in until after the Caps game,” Brian joked. “Luckily, he did.”
Which isn’t to say things weren’t getting a bit hectic by the end. With his wife beginning to have contractions, Brian packed for the hospital between periods on Wednesday night. He timed the start and end of her contractions based on voice commands, without taking his eyes away from the television.
“She was sitting there, doing the breathing techniques,” Brian recalled. “I wasn’t sure if that was because of the game or the baby.”
After the game, they grabbed their last-minute things and headed to Sibley hospital. Brian was still wearing his Semin jersey; “great win,” the nurses said. By Thursday morning, Braden had arrived
Now, about that name.
Nicole — who, like Brian, went to the University of Delaware before moving to D.C. — is not a Washington native, but she’s gotten as obsessive about the Caps as her Montgomery County-raised husband. The couple regularly passes by a large Braden Holtby billboard in Hershey while driving to see her parents near Allentown. Both had been calling for Holtby to get his chance in net for months, well before he became a national star.
But they came by the name honestly, and it had nothing to do with Holtby’s career, or his performance in these playoffs, no matter what their friends believe. (Some even thought Braden’s middle name, “Thomas,” referred to the Bruins goalie. No, no, no.)
“We sent out the e-mail and text messages, and everyone that’s a sports fan was saying ‘Did you name him after Holtby?’ ” Brian told me. “It’d be a much better story if we did.”
But the story got even better when Brian and Nicole were glancing at the Caps Insider blog late Thursday, and saw that Braden Holtby had also become a first-time father the same day that Braden Salcetti was born. Brian even told his younger brother to wander around Sibley’s maternity ward, just in case Holtby were there. They could have showed him the Semin jersey, which is hanging in their room.
Anyhow, the couple is expecting to be discharged on Saturday afternoon, in plenty of time to see Game 7. Braden’s grandparents are already searching for a newborn Caps onesie.
And while the name really, truly had nothing at all to do with the Caps, their young goalie or the 2012 playoffs, Brian said there’s one situation where he might fib a bit.
“I think if I ever met Braden Holtby, we would definitely tell him we named our son after him,” he joked. “If you can set it up, we’d love to do that.”
Seriously, congrats to the happy couple, and much health to young Braden.
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