Poetic justice. That's what Olie Kolzig called it. F'n sweet. That's what The Rink calls it. Friday night's game came down to the greatest scorer in Caps history and the greatest goalie in Caps history staring each other down, half a rink apart. Each was so deep in the other's head he would need a ladder to get out.
Kolzig expected his former teammate to try to shoot to his blocker side, not push the puck into his gut.
"I was wondering if he was thinking that's where I knew he was going," Kolzig said. "He went glove side, I got a piece of it and, well, poetic justice."
Indeed. In fact, Kolzig's stop on Peter Bondra was the dramatic climax to a game the Caps netminder dominated, and, if not for a couple of lucky bounces and a questionable high-stick call on a puck played by Alex Ovechkin, would never have made it to overtime. The Caps played pretty solid defense, got a couple of pretty goals from Bryan Muir (his first goal since 2002) and Jakub Klepis (his first NHL goal in his first NHL game), and quite simply deserved to win. And they did, by that same 3-2 score by which their other four wins have come. Coming off an 8-1 loss to Philly the night before, it was gut check time for the Caps and they stepped up as a team. They should be proud of their effort and the result.
The WaPo recaps the game here, and has a couple of notes related to the Alex Semin case (judge grants a TRO against his agent, which means little if anything to the Caps) and Chris Clark's hit on Eric Desjardins from the other night (the former was slapped with a $2,000 fine). Nice title on the Semin article, by the way (insert Bill Clinton joke here). The WTimes' recap is here.
In other news around the League:
- Canadian media bias makes its first appearance related to the 2006 NHL Draft: who needs Wisconsin native Phil Kessel with Winnipeg's own Jonathan Toews available at the top of next year's draft? Please. If Kessel was Canadian he'd be hailed as the next Sidney Crosby. If Toews was American, he'd be the next Justin Abdelkader.
- The Rink will add a new award to it's "Daily Awards" segment, this one for the night's worst performance. But after whom should it be named? Help us name the award and win a prize.
- Hart: Olie Kolzig (Shootout win, 35 saves on 37 shots against and 3/3 in the shootout)
- Ross: Stu Barnes, Jarret Stoll (4 points each)
- Norris: Sami Salo (G, A)
- Vezina: J.S. Giguere (OTL, 31 saves on 32 shots against)
- Richard: Stu Barnes (3G)
- Calder: Nolan Schaeffer (Shutout OT win, 21 saves)
- ????? (see above): Nikolai Khabibulin (L, 4 goals on 18 shots against in 14:30 before getting yanked)