Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Kolzig Conundrum

It's okay to say that Olie Kolzig's gone soft. It happens. After being babied by Glen Hanlon, it's not surprising that Kolzig wants to throw a tantrum and consider retirement after being pulled then sitting out the next game. If Olie wants the starting job, he has to play for it just like any other player on the team.

Kolzig is a great goaltender. But, 4 goals on 16 shots (2 goals on 3 shots in the second period) isn't going to cut it at any level. Kolzig has to prove that he is just as prepared for making the post season as the rest of the team has. Glen Hanlon looked out for Olie too much and it might have made him soft to NHL competitive hockey. Now that Bruce Boudreau is in charge, Kolzig was starting in 13 straight games, instead of a couple of games here then a day off, then a couple more games there, and a night off. Boudreau was basically saying, "Olie you're the number one goaltender, start acting like one."

I have seen flashes of Kolzig's brilliance this season, but far too many soft goals that over-shadows those great performances. Kolzig is still a loved player by the fans, and still has time to turn his game around. If I had the choice to start Olie or Brent Johnson in net for the playoffs, it would be Kolzig every day of the week and twice on Sunday. But his play of late is inconsistent.

There is a part of that interview that gives me the impression that Olie made the mistake of staying with the Capitals through the rebuild. I can understand that, to stick by an organization for that long and feel that that loyalty should be rewarded in a way. But Boudreau wants to win and if that means putting more pressure on his goaltenders to do better by sitting them on an odd night out after a bad game, then he is going to do it. Just like every other coach in the NHL is doing now.

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