Friday, May 9, 2008

Godzilla Leaves DC

1) For the uninformed, Godzilla, or 'Zilla for short is the nick-name of now-former, and long time goalie of the Washington Capitals, Olaf Kolzig. Yesterday he officially parted ways with the only organization he's ever played for. As it does often in sports, it didn't end well. There was no going away/great send off for the fan favourite. No swan song. Only bitterness and profound disappointment at being replaced and shunted aside for a younger, (at this stage) better goalie, Critabal Huet. (The link provided is from the Washington Post's article where they interviewed Kolzig)

2) It was a shock to almost everyone around the NHL, including us at FAUXRUMORS that Caps' General manager, George McPhee(GMGM) was able to land former Montreal Canadiens starting goalie Huet this past February. At the time it looked like the Caps would stand pat at the trade deadline. However when Huet was made available by Bob Gainey for a mere late 2nd round pick McPhee had to make the no-brain decision to bring in the French goalie. With Huet the Caps not only did well, they thrived, and he won a mere won 11 of his 13 games; making it easy for fans and management alike to forget who was backing up the new guy, Kolzig.

3) At first Kolzig accepted the new guy graciously. Avoiding saying anything that might have come off as selfish or negative. Appearing to look at his new mate as a friendly rival that would help him elevate his own game in the process. That initially appeared to be so as both men alternated games. However once Huet established himself as the team's #1 goalie, Kolzig's demeanor changed, and by the end of the Caps brief playoff run he had come to his decision to leave. Making it clear the moment the final game abruptly ended in OT by removing his name plate from his Verizon Center locker, in a symbolic termination of his tenure with the Capitals. Clearly his ego had been badly bruised, but until yesterday it was unknown if that injury would lead to the severing of ties

4) A 1989 1st round draft pick, Kolzig was not an immediate star. He toiled in the minors for several years before eclipsing Jim (Ace) Carey in 1996. His pinnacle came in 1998, when he had a career year winning the Vezina for the leagues top goalie and leading his team to the Finals before finally succumbing to the Cup champion, RedWings. He, until this season remained a fan favourite for not only his high level of play, but his off ice contributions to the DC area community, as well as his 'stand up guy' persona/the defacto team captain.

5) So what now for the 38 year old? While their certainly is a market for starting goalies in the NHL, its doubtful that a contending team will sign Olie to a contract to be their starter. Its not only his age, but his declining stats. He was among the worst goalies in GAA and save% who played more than 40 games. Its also uncertain what kind of a backup he'd be. Kolzig hasn't played that role in a dozen years. On the positive side, outside of recent events, he is a good team guy, who won't hurt the locker room. He certainly won't hurt any organization from an off the ice perspective (Ray Emory). His second half before the Huet run, was actually fairly decent, but unspectacular. Our guess is he signs a 1 year incentive laden deal with a team like Ottawa or LA. We at FAUXRUMORS wish Olie well whatever he decides/happens.

1 comment:

Antzmarching said...

Best wishes to, not only a great goalie, but a phenomenal human being... Olie is a class act all the way! His charitable work on behalf of sick children, and most recently autism, shows his true character and integrity... Thank you, Olie for an amazing career in D.C...

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