Thursday, May 08, 2008

Breaking: Kolzig Won't Return

It's official.

Per Tarik, "Olie Kolzig, the Washington Capitals goaltender through some of the best and worst oments in the team's history, confirmed yesterday what had been suspected for weeks: He has played his final game for the franchise that drafted him in 1989."


Rage said...

Wow. Olie's never been one to mince words, but... wow.

So long, Olaf.

breed16 said...

I understand how he feels. He could have left for a contender, or asked to be traded several times over the past few years. But he wanted to be there to reap the fruits of the rebuild. Just when it was harvest time, reality set in most brutally: with a trade to supplant him as starter.

That's tough. No hard feelings here. Olie will always be a Cap in my heart and the day we hoist his jersey number to the rafters I will be there cheering loudly.

exwhaler said...

>>>"It just doesn't feel right. But at the same time, as an athlete, you have to know when to move on."

Good luck, Olie.

On a side note, I get the feeling from his comments about Game 7 against the Flyers that if the Caps had won the Cup, he would have retired, even if he never had the opportunity to play again after that Chicago loss.

sonia said...

he'll be missed, but jeez. the way he has been handling this is really annoying. diva!

Sean Hogan said...

I love Olie, but this is best for him and best for the Caps. His number will still be retired in no time!

Scott said...

It's sad because it seems like he should have retired after hoisting the cup. Unfortunately, we're stuck with BJ instead. No offense, but I hate that we have to have BJ as a backup.

I hope Olie realizes he's not a starter anymore. The sooner he does, the better the end to his spectacular career will be. I think the thing that makes me the saddest is that he's going to go somewhere else, get lit up, & then retire.

On the other hand, my biggest fear is that (being a Caps fan, and the worst will probably happen) he'll probably get signed by a Southeast team and he will kick our ass for 2-3 more years and prevent us from winning a cup in our prime. Then in 13 years, Ovie will leave Washington with the same sinking/disappointing feeling.

Gary said...

Re: Johnson as the backup: At some points during this season, even my wife was relieved that he got the start over Kolzig.

Professional athletes have some of the biggest egos on earth. Even though everyone took note of Olie's almost glacial recovery from going down to block a shot--not to mention his Slow-Poke Rodriguez imitation lateral movement--he still thinks he's the best. And, let's be honest about it: Every athlete needs to see themselves as such for them to succeed, or at least compete.

I still think Olie's a class act, regardless of how he came across in the article. The Internet (and the dead-tree newspaper) knows no inflection, so readers apply it as they see fit. *shrug* Just the way it goes.

With Olie gone, it's gonna be a bitch of a time around here unless they can sign Huet.

Hazardous said...


He gave his career to this franchise and they basically shat on him at the end. Of course he's gonna be sour about it, but he's actually been a pretty damn good sport about all of it.

A part of me has died today. This is disappointing as hell.

Jimmy Jazz said...

Very bittersweet.

I hope he can spot start somewhere and finally win a Cup.

Josh said...

you cannot begrudge Olie for the way he has handled the past few months. it is the same competitiveness and intensity that made him such a successful goaltender for us when he was still physically capable. i wish him the best and will always fondly look back at his days as a Capital, and hope that he too overlooks this past year and has fond memories of his time in Washington.

Sean Hogan said...

For Olie, the options are to start OR to win a cup. He's not good enough to be a Stanley Cup winning team's starter goaltender anymore.

JP said...

@Hazardous: You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but (related to Kolzig) when did the organization do anything other than act in a manner that would win them the most games?

Chuck G. said...

I'll miss Olie the Goalie. I remember when it all started for him in the beginning of the '97-'98 season against the Maple Leafs. Good luck Olie, and if you ever come back to town, I'll be cheering for Godzilla no matter what!

Kim said...

The end of an era is almost always sad.

One thing stood out to me in the article. Olie made the comment that he was never a save percentage guy more a wins guy. While I understand what he means, I do have to wonder if that coupled with Mother Nature and the new skill focused style of hockey is part of the problem. When the focus is on skill and offense doesnt a goalie that has good movement and can make more saves become more important? Or, does the fact that every player and their brother now blocks shots level that out?

Either way, I wish Olie well and hope things work out. If he does decide to hang up the mask and skates, then I say we all throw him a city-wide pool party so we can all join him for that six pack.

Something tells me that we may be circling a date with the Senators next season. (What about L.A.? Did Tampa get their goalie situation settled?) Yikes!

Paul Nichols said...

I agree with Sonia. I feel sick today, like someone died.

Even though I knew it was coming, one way or the other, I didn't look forward to reading it or seeing it on TV.

What would be nice is if he signs with another team and on their visit to Washington, Olie gets the start and gets the 10-minute standing ovation he deserves.

JP said...

What would be nice is if he signs with another team and on their visit to Washington, Olie gets the start and gets the 10-minute standing ovation he deserves.

... before the Caps light him up for seven goals. :)

Anonymous said...

Truly a sad day for Caps fans everywhere. We'll miss you, Olie!

algoon said...

I'm glad to see Olie go. nothing against him, but if he feels that he is entitled to the crease based on his "loyalty/dedication" then lets just end that idea here and now. This is a buisiness, and he has been an extreme exception to the rule when you look at playing time and commitment. He has enjoyed a very long, heralded career thanks to an organization that let him grow and evolve. Would it have been such had he played in Canada or some other more hockey-crazed city that would have hounded every mistake or bad goal? Had the Caps pulled the trigger on the deal to send him off to Ottawa with Bonzai would he still be in the league? Look at how sadly Bondra's career ended, Olie should be wary of thinking he'll find sympathy on another team. It was a mutually beneficial relationship that should be recogniozed as an exception to the rule. I hope he finishes strong somewhere, but I can see new fans quickly tiring of his rebounds and patented "hand-cuff" butterfly.

I do wish him well. Hell, I voted to start him game 4. So long as he walks away on his own two feet, its a successful career. Think he'll come back for a front-office gig?

~Mark said...

@JP... you're wicked... AND I LOVE IT!
But seriously, if a goalie isn't a "numbers guy", doesn't it then boil down to having a really good team in front of him to score more goals than he allows? I mean at some point, numbers do tell a story. Perhaps if a guy has 30 wins, a 2.04 GAA but has a .899 SAV%, you say, OK, one stat is off, but the others look good; understandable! But when all of the stats except wins look average to poor, it says to me the only reason you have the wins is because of someone else (namely, 19 someone elses). Love Olie, love his competitive nature, but when someone called him a "diva" it kind of fits. It seems like he felt too entitled to the starter job here. Like, "how dare you take my starting job away?" Hopefully he can have a good relationship with the team long term.

JP said...

"I'm not a numbers guy" means "I'm not capable of putting up great numbers at this point" means "I can't be expected to consistently win games on my own at this point." Which is fine, but let's call it what it is.

At least that's my take (in this situation; you see guys with great numbers saying "I'm not a numbers guy, all that matters is if the team wins" all the time, but they're just being humble).

~Mark said...

JP - Exactly.
I'm liking Bondra more every day!

Rage said...

The whole wins vs numbers is such a ridiculous argument. Wins are almost completely dependant on your teammates, while save percentage and GAA are less so.

Think about American League baseball (where it's more clear, and more exaggerated). A pitcher with a 4.5 ERA gets a ton of wins if he's pitching for the Yankees or the BoSox. Not so much if he's pitching for the Royals or the O's.

The goalie plays a bigger part in the offense than the pitcher in an AL game (i.e. more than 0). But whatever, wins is an idiotic statistic to look at on a personal level unless your team's offense is just crap.

By the way, was Olie saying this when our offense was pathetic?

JP said...

Further to Rage's point, if you had one game to win and could choose from two goalies with all else equal other than Goalie A having 25% more wins and a 25% higher GAA than Goalie B (for example, Goalie A has 35 wins and a 3.00 GAA, Goalie B has 28 wins and a 2.40 GAA), you're taking Goalie B every time, no?

Yes, "all else equal" doesn't exist in reality - teams play differently in front of different guys, etc. But "I'm not a numbers guy" is a cop out.

Rage said...

Kolzig by the numbers
03-04: 19-35-9 (.301)
05-06: 20-28-11 (.339)
06-07: 22-24-6 (.423)
07-08: 25-21-6 (.481)

So judging by that (and the wins logic), he was a far worse goalie in 03-04 than he was this year. That's ignoring the fact that his save percentage was 16 points higher in 03-04 despite defensemen such as Kiwi (72 games), Doig (65 games) and Rick Berry (who? 65 games).

By the way, Kolzig's team scored 25 goals fewer than the league average in 03-04, as opposed to 14 more than the league average this year.

Bottom line: it seems to me that Kolzig was a far superior goaltender 4 years ago, but the wins stat would lead you to believe the opposite. Which is why it's so damn misleading.

breed16 said...

As far as the "i've never been a numbers guy" comment goes, I think he is speaking to his mental approach to the game. It's not like he doesn't care if he lets the puck in, it just means he never worried about his stats. I'm sure plenty of goalies out there did. But to be a competitor, and concern yourself most with the outcome of the game, you have to ignore those things as a player. If I were to sign or draft a young goalie, I'd want them to say the same thing.

~Mark said...

Sorry, but this is illogical.
"Yeah, I know my numbers suck, but I know I'm playing really well." This doesn't hold water. If you are playing well, the numbers will reflect it. Otherwise it's just delusions of grandeur. Did Olie have some awesome saves this year? Certainly. But a goalie can make 5 great saves, and also allow some softies. The numbers may mask the great saves, but they also account for the softies. It's not like the numbers are assigned randomly.

JR said...

Too bad Olie feels this way. He would have been a great #2 for the next two years or so.

I guess he's retiring because he's not getting a #1 job anywhere else.

reading_grl76 said...

I think the main problem here is ego. I don't think there is any reason why Olie couldn't have stayed here and been the number two (assuming we could resign Huet). I know our boys are going to win a Cup soon so he could have had his dream. I know we have Johnson but I'm sure McPhee could have found a way to get rid of him. (Sorry Johnny I love you but...). Olie is not a number one goaltender anymore. His reaction time is slower, that's what happens when you age....I wish he hadn't had such a knee jerk reaction. I think he's made a decision way too quickly and to not talk to the team about it...that's just letting your pride get in the way....I hate to see him go like this especially since it didn't have to be that way.

Paul Nichols said...

I would have liked Olie to stay as a backup (assuming we keep Huet). Then, he could skate around with that Cup when the boys win it in '09 or '10.

If they make it happen, it will be too bad he didn't stick it out.

I know he wants to be a #1, but I don't see who would pick him up.

Paul Nichols said...

I will say this - IF he signs to be a backup somewhere else next season, I'll wonder why he couldn't have just been the backup HERE.

Rage said...

Recap of Olie's convo on JT's show (paraphrased, quotes might be slightly off, but I think they're pretty close):
"It feels like I'm being pushed out the door."

"George said he wouldn't make a trade [before the deadline]."

"I didn't hear anything over the last 6 weeks about where I stand, what they were thinking."

"Cris for a second round pick, you have to do that."

"I'm the most critical of myself and I know I've got at least two more years in me."

"It's very very...very disappointing."

"George called me at the end of the season, but at that point my mind had already been made."

"My main decision is I'm moving on from Washington. Come July/August, I might end up retiring a Washington Capital. This is not about moving on to greener pastures. If there's an opp come July 1 that makes sense then I'll take it. If not, then it's time for me to move on from hockey."

"Any time a new coach comes in, there's going to be adjustments. From a stat standpoint, at the beginning it didn't benefit me."

"We'd have guys fall apart early, and we'd let up 1 or 2 goals here or there on 15 or 16 shots."

"The bottom line was winning. So to win these games 6-5, and 5-4, it doesn't look pretty on the stats sheet, but the bottom line is you're winning."

"All of that stuff (above presumably) is irrelevant to my decision."

"If they had come to me and said, 'your game is slipping and we're moving on [for a #1] but we still want you around,' then it would have been different."

"No, I don't see myself going to another organization as a backup. It's tough enough as a 25 year old. When you're in your upper 30s it's very tough. I've always been a guy that plays better with a lot of work."

"I didn't fall off the face of the earth or forget how to stop a puck [from last year to this year]."

"I didn't have as good a year this year as I had the last couple of years from a statistical standpoint."

"There was a stretch in November where I was giving up a bad goal a game, but it wasn't as bad a season as people want to make it out to be."

"There are some things I'm going to do different this summer in terms of training, maybe be in a better frame of mind going into camp next year."

"I don't see myself going into camp as a backup."

"The one thing I'll say about the team is they were very understanding of the situation, I never heard the guys say one negative thing about me. That's a tribute to those guys in the room. That's why we were able to do what we did down the stretch. Everyone was on board."

"It was tough, because you kinda feel like you were alienated. To go from the last 10 years where I was playing well over 60 games a year to not playing the last 15. It was tough. I had to keep from not dragging my lip."

"I've seen that happen in the past and as a player that drives you nuts."

Al: How do you want this to end in the way people to look at you? How should this end if you do move on? Ties cut? Or should there be something that this fanbase remembers about OK?
OK: "I'm not leaving here under bad terms in my mind. It's a business. I understand that. It is what it is. It could have been handled differently. The fans have been absolutely unbelievable to me. The Olie chants in the VC, that's what I'll miss the most. I've always stated that I've wanted to retire a Capital."

"As an athlete, you want to leave your own terms. I'm not cutting ties. I'm not turning my back on the city. You know when it's time to move on. The last six weeks, to me the writing was on the wall. And it was time to move on."

"Maybe it's a situation where they wanted to go with a different direction. I understand that."

"I just really feel that it could have been done differently."

JP said...

Absolutely awesome, Rage. Thanks.

Quick question - did the interview end with B-Mitch and Smokin' Al nailing Olie to a cross or what?

Rage said...

B-Mitch only had one comment saying that the sitaution sounded like when he left the Skins (which it does).

Al and JT were just saying 'we'll miss you for everything, and we hope that it's not the end, but if it is, 'we'll miss you.'

exwhaler said...

>>>"I didn't hear anything over the last 6 weeks about where I stand, what they were thinking."

"Cris for a second round pick, you have to do that."

"George called me at the end of the season, but at that point my mind had already been made."


Okay, those quotes are taken out of context, but taken together, do they make sense? Kolzig understands the move to get Huet, but he's upset that the organization doesn't tell him where he stands for the last six weeks (of the season? Or just the past month and so?). Yet, McPhee--who stated publically at the time of the trade that Kolzig would be welcomed back to the Capitals if he wanted to--contacts Kolzig at the end of the season to discuss his future, but Kolzig's already made up his mind?

With this interview, I dunno anymore. Olie sounds like a guy who feels entitled to the No. 1 job, but is also dealing with the fact that Huet is better than him. Olie sat because of a coaching decision, not an organizational one. Gabby went with the hot hand after platoon both guys, and without Huet, the Caps probably don't make the playoffs. Kolzig--as a veteran--should understand that, no matter how much it hurts him. Kolzig's admission that he felt his Capitals career was over after the Chicago loss tells me he made up his mind then, not in the playoffs.

Olie's a man with a lot of pride and class. It's too bad one of those attributes is dominating the other right now.

JP said...

Well said, and be sure to check out the audio from the interview in the post above.

Ogre said...

I agree with Hazardous. The only stat in my opinion that matters to goalies is wins. GAA and SV% are icing on the cake. They say you start the goalie who gives you the best chance to win. If a goalie is 35-0-0 but has a 3.00 GAA and the other goalie is 28-21-10 with a 2.40, I'm starting 35-0-0.

The team did shit on him, but in a way that the team had to to get better. Am I happy that the Caps are a much better team after Huet has shown up? You bet it. But I'm still sad that Olie's gone. Olie is the reason I didn't give up on the Caps between 2002 and 2008.

Hazardous said...


Just because they "did what was best for the team" or whathaveyou doesn't mean he wasn't tossed aside. The thing I'm getting at is that everyone seems divided by something that shouldn't even be an issue. They shoved him aside, but for what they felt was best for the whole team. That doesn't really make anyone the "bad guy" or anything, it's just how it happened. You can't really blame either side for how they handled things, here.

Sean: That's not true, either. For all we know, he just had one lousy year. Everyone has slumps now and again. Hasek could very well win a cup this year at the young age of 786 years old. I feel you're going by just age, which isn't exactly that fair.

Anyway, I kinda stopped reading comments around this one... I'm sick of people playing numbers. Numbers may not lie, but the way they're presented can be deceptive as hell. Don't buy into numbers. Know things based on what you see. Period.

JP said...

everyone seems divided by something that shouldn't even be an issue.

I couldn't agree more on that point, but I think the player is as culpable here as anyone. The only reason this is an issue is because Olie has made it one (and he certainly has every right to, I suppose).