Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Huet Or Kolzig: Who To Start In Game 4?

Note: I've bumped this up to the top of the page, but there are a couple of new posts below.

In case you were unaware, there's a big debate going on and it has everything to do with Philadelphia.

No, I'm not talking about the dueling donkeys, I'm talking about the question of who should start in the Caps' net in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series with the Flyers.

Cristobal Huet has been decent-to-bad through three games (his save percentage would suggest the latter), while Olie Kolzig hasn't played a minute in nearly a month (but has brilliant career playoff numbers, all of which were accumulated before most of his current teammates were NHLers).

Bruce Boudreau has said he's starting the incumbent in Game 4. Would you?

34 comments:

ratgurl said...

Olie. Flyers are in Huet's head. Even though it is clearly partly the defense's fault, at least Olie would push and shove the Flyers around a little.

tj said...

Wake up from coma, it's not 1998, and it's not even 2007 when Kolzig was ahead of Huet in ratings. Kolzig hit botm in 2008, the worst save percentage in the league

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MunTf_Xcgbs

I get giddy just thinking about Briere being on the other end of that punch.

Scott said...

Olie. If not for anything more than to give this team a spark.

James Mirtle said...

It'd be a great story to see Kolzig come in and lead this team to a win or two. I'm not against it.

hotdog88gt said...

The Flyers may be in Huet's head, but a change in goalies is not going to fix the porous defense or the PPP (Pentagonal Power Play).

Whatever happens, if we're going to go out then lets go out with a bang.

Series is only 2-1. Nothing is finished, NOTHING!!!

grapejoos said...

If this team is going to go anywhere in the playoffs, Huet is going to have to take us there. Kolzig is the ultimate desperation move. We're down 2-1, it's not time to be that desperate.

If Huet lets in a bad goal in game 4, I'll change my tune. But for now, he has to stay in as the Caps figure out a way to right the ship. They played great with their backs against the wall with Huet all down the stretch, and they have to start WORKING like that team did again. Guys just haven't been moving their feet, especially on D, and the scoring lines are in Groundhog Day mode on offense. These are problems that can be solved. Game 1 wasn't that long ago.

b.orr4 said...

This sounds very much like an "old media" fueled controversy. Just exactly where is this big debate of Huet vs Olie taking place. Bruce has said he's going with Huet. Olie hasn't said a word and neither has Huet. I haven't heard a player anonymously quoted as saying they need to make a change. Evem the talking heads at XM haven't said it should happen. Yeah, Jason "I'm too good for hockey" LaCanfora wrote a column saying a change should be made. But then, he's just killing time until NFL Draft Day. Really, this is as concocted a controversy as the good old Billy vs Sonny days. Think about it. Olie hasn't played a game in a month when he was on the wrong end of a 5-0 loss. What in the world makes anyone think he'll be able to step in and do any better than Huet facing a relentless Flyer team in the bedlam of Wachiovia Place behind our error-prone defense. Talk about stacked decks. And also, what does it say to Huet,the guy you're trying to sign for a few years, that in crunch time he's on the end of the bench. Now if the Caps go down 3-1, then by all means I think Olie should go for what could be his last game at Verizon. But having him play tomorrow night would be wrong for everyone concerned.

terpz said...

sadly, i missed last night game so i didn't see how poorly huet played, but i honestly can't believe this is even been considered. Did we forget how poorly olie played already? Well heres a friendly reminder: vs PHI Kolzig posted 2 wins, 1 loss (not bad, right? well he also got pulled in the second period of a 6-4 home loss) and a 3.77 GAA and .875 sv% (ouch!). By comparison, Huet in the playoffs has 1 win, 2 losses and an awful but still better than olie 3.69 GAA and .884 sv%. a knee-jerk goalie change is not the answer. the caps got shut out in game two - kolzig isn't going to score goals, is he? and in game 3 i heard jurcina had a great assist on a flyer goal and mo gave the flyers a penalty shot. That sounds more like the cap's defense is still bad, we knew that, hopefully they'll execute better in game 4. What it doesn't sound like is the flyers are "in huet's head."

moby said...

So far the prominent (and by that I mean 99% of them) argument I've heard for Olie starting is that "he wouldn't take the runs" or that he'd "beat the crap out of Briere."

So what? Yes that's definitely what they need, and yes maybe Huet should start giving them some more chops to the ankles, but if that's the only thing that Olie will bring to the table, it's not worth it. If that will win us the series then let's put George Foreman in net.

Huet should stay in net. Putting Olie in is too risky of an option.

There's also the huge chance that him getting in Philly's face will backfire. He's known for getting pissed off extremely easily, and if he loses his cool and focus because he keeps getting run, we're screwed.

And just rotating goalies doesn't necessarily always provide a spark. Look at Atlanta in last year's playoffs, and I think their team last year was pretty comparable to our's currently.

Depending on how game 4 goes, I'll finally give in to starting Olie in game 5.

tj said...

Mr. Mirtle,

How come you write in your blog that Olie plays awful this year and come here and declare that would be nice to see Olie in the net? I rest my case, where is the consistency? Or are you just trying to stir the pot?

JP said...

Mirtle is a journo. All he said was that "[i]t'd be a great story to see Kolzig come in and lead this team to a win or two."

It would, no?

Hazardous said...

Yes, it would. I have faith in the guy that he could do it. As they're saying (and not letting us escape) "The cup changes everything."

Think about this, though, even if it's not the goalie's fault at all, if 4 goals go by him in the first, he gets yanked, no? Well, sometimes a goaltender change isn't always the goalie's fault, exactly, but needs to happen. I think it's time to consider it, heavily.

algoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dmg said...

The only reason to start Kolzig would be if the Flyers truly are in Huet's head, because:

*Olie had the worst save percentage in the league this year.
*Huet's had the best save percentage in the NHL since the lockout
*The team plays better in front of Huet than Kozlig

As mentioned having Kolzig in because he's tougher doesn't make any sense; if it did Dan Cloutier would still have an NHL job. Based on how the team has played with Huet in net and how he performed down the stretch I think sending in Olie would send a desperation message and make the team play even tighter and more tentatively rather than fire them up.

Truth be told I can't fathom why this poll is in favor of Kolzig. Huet is, by far, the better goalie right now and unless he's hurt, in a horrible slump or genuinely intimidated (something that I think only the coaching staff can evaluate) it doesn't make sense to me to not have the better player in there.

The only thing I can think of is that Kolzig's had a more distinguished career and more success in the playoffs. I can sort of see why this skews people's opinions. But then, Fedorov has 164 playoff points in 165 games and 1,146 career regular season points and Alex Ovechkin has three career playoff games and 310 career NHL points but I'd rather have the puck on his stick for a scoring chance when the game's on the line.

Scai said...

Huet hasn't made the big saves. He has looked good when the team was trailing by 2 goals, at least keeping the game from getting out of reach. But he hasn't made the saves at the end of periods to keep the game tied or to keep a 1 goal deficit from becoming a 2 goad deficit.

If we know anything about Olie than that he's making the big saves when they have to be made. That's why he has so many wins even this season. In a game against Pittsburgh he let in 5 goals on 15 shots but he stopped Malkin on a breakaway late in regulation, came up big on a penalty kill in OT and then won the game in the shootout.
With Huet you just flat out knew that Richards was gonna beat him on a simple little play to win the game. Huet's not getting the job done, makes no sense to keep going with him.

JP said...

I'm shocked at Olie's 3:2 lead in this poll. Glad I didn't take 60% of you guys to prom (besides the fact that I'm glad I didn't take any guy to prom, but you get my point)...

Anonymous said...

Interesting that we focus on the goalie when for 8 of 9 periods in this series, we have been badly outplayed and out-coached all over the ice. If the Caps are to turn this around, it will happen at the blue line, not in the net.

Paul Nichols said...

(besides the fact that I'm glad I didn't take any guy to prom, but you get my point)...
---------------
Easy JP, you gave me some grief for negative type remarks ...ahem.
:oD

Anyway, I don't think giving Olie a start is a desperation move, as some have suggested. But taking away the empty netter at the end of game 3, and including the penalty shot, Huet's GAA is 3.667.

Unless Olie is giving up 5, I don't see the big difference. Plus, maybe a rest would help Huet re-focus. It should be obvious that Huet is the #1, and that the Caps aren't in it for the long haul without him in net.

Would the Flyers run at Olie in the same manner that they did at Huet? I don't know, but even in ONCE or TWICE it makes them pull up, then I'd say that's a positive.

Of course, the rest of the team has to play better.

JP said...

I wonder what the numbers look like, historically, for a 38-year-old goalie playing his first game in 29 days.

I just don't see Olie having a better chance than Huet at a strong performance right now.

JP said...

Though I will add that Anonymous #1's clip of Olie/Slater is heart-warming.

Anonymous said...

start Olie. was he not in the net in Philly for the Caps wins there?? Could he do any worse than Huet? If he shows signs of self destructing, put Huet in. what do we have to lose at this point?

Marco said...

>what do we have to lose at this point?<

What do we have to lose at this point? EVERYTHING!! The series is 2-1, people!!

b.orr4 said...

Based on the logic of this poll, Steve Weeks should be playing the next game for the Devils. Marty Brodeur has been decidely average and the main reason cited is the number of times he's been run over/interfered with by the Rangers. Goalies are just like every other player, if you take away their time and space, they're going to be less effective. If the Caps want to get Huet back to his regular season level, they need to start clearing the crease in front of him. And conversely, putting some bodies on Biron wouldn't hurt either.

Shaggy said...

The results of this poll are stunning - that is all.

~Mark said...

The reason this is a dumb-ass "controversy" is because it is not Huet's fault. How many give-aways, odd-mans, and penalty shots would Olie stop? Puh-leeze! Putting Olie in would be the functional equivalent of calling the NHL at 6:00 PM and saying, "we forfeit tonight's game. Please don't make us play again!"
Huet can be better, but I'll take an average Huet over a fresh Olie any day (these days).
The Caps have exactly 1.5 goals over the last 2 games. Huet could stand on his head and still lose. Again, and Olie will do what for us?

Hazardous said...

I find it wholly amusing how many people are going HOLY CRAP ITS ONLY 2-1 WHY WOULD YOU PUT IN THE WORST GOALIE IN THE WORLD!?!?!?!

Fact is, he's not that damn bad. You can read stats all you want, but stats can be misleading. And if you're going to try and pull stats to try and explain why a goalie change, even if for ONE game, is a BAD idea, save it.

The series is 2-1. That's exactly why a change might be the spark you need. I think it's pretty damn sad that I'm apparently the only one who's seen the awful shots that got by huet. They're soft goals, exactly the kind you'd complain that Olie let in earlier in the year. So even if Olie plays just the damn same as he had during the regular season, you still don't have much of a difference.

For anyone to think the entire series is being laid on Huet is sheer stupidity. No one's saying that, not even me. Yeah, I've been vocal and said he's played kinda crappy, because he just has. He's had a number of great periods of play. Then he's had some downright awful ones. You can't win the cup with a goalie who isn't showing up for all 3 periods every game. Would Kolzig show up for all 3? Who knows. Maybe not. Regardless, change IS needed at every level right now.

Doesn't matter, though, because the fans can talk all they want, but the coaching staff makes the calls. But, then again, so far they've not really done a great job either. We'll see.

JP said...

Doesn't matter, though, because the fans can talk all they want, but the coaching staff makes the calls. But, then again, so far they've not really done a great job either.

I think Boudreau's body of work from late-November through early-April has earned him the chance to prove he knows what he's doing now.

I don't disagree that he has seemed a bit slow/reluctant to adjust in this series (on the PP, most notably), but anyone who thinks a 38-year-old without a minute of game action in nearly a month is likely to be this team's savior is grasping at straws.

~Mark said...

I'm sorry @Hazardous, but your logic makes no sense if winning is the thing. You state:

You can't win the cup with a goalie who isn't showing up for all 3 periods every game. Would Kolzig show up for all 3? Who knows. Maybe not. Regardless, change IS needed at every level right now.

So your point is simply, change for changes sake! Or, is it really a desire to see Olie one last playoff game? That's OK, but just call it what it is. I disagree, because I want the best chance to win, but It's OK.

Hazardous said...

No, my point is that change is needed, on many levels, and the fact that everyone's so anti-olie when huet isn't play any better is confusing, to say the least.

You can't know if olie would play well or not without him actually playing. So saying he *can't* before he ever had a chance is infuriating. It's not favoritism either way. Hell, bring in Brent Johnson if you think he's better than Olie, I don't care. Our goalie isn't playing strong and I want to see if another can do better. That's it.

Ogre said...

A lot of people clamored that Hanlon was still the answer. They said to fire him, "For changes sake."

Would you rather still be with Boudreau?

Ogre said...

Whoops - meant Hanlon.

James Mirtle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James Mirtle said...

How come you write in your blog that Olie plays awful this year and come here and declare that would be nice to see Olie in the net? I rest my case, where is the consistency? Or are you just trying to stir the pot?

Mr. TJ, don't be a twit. I've written Kolzig was bad when he was in the basement in save percentage, and I've given him massive kudos when he excelled down the stretch.

I rest my case.