Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Death, Taxes, &

Olie Kolzig throwing people under the bus...

Want to know why I'm wishing for a leader? This article is why. Look at this quote:
Bruce [Boudreau] is not a goaltender guy. One thing about Bruce, he's hard on goalies because he doesn't understand the position. And a lot of coaches that haven't played the position are usually that way. You know: 'Just stop the puck and get it done. Doesn't matter how or what.' That's something I've got to get used to because I've had Glennie [Hanlon] here for so long and obviously being a goaltender, he understands the situation and the position.

Now this looks rather innocent at first blush but consider that over his career Kolzig has tended goal under BOTH Murray brothers, Jim Schoenfeld, Ron Wilson, Bruce Cassidy (and the Sundance Kid), Glen Hanlon, and now Bruce Boudreau. That's seven coaches for those of you who can't count and Glen Hanlon is the only former goaltender of the bunch who has been Kolzig's Head Coach in the NHL. So now, in his 16th season and with his seventh Head Coach in the NHL, Kolzig only now has to figure out how to play for a coach who doesn't understand goaltending?

I'm sorry if I don't have more compassion for Kolzig. It is tough for an athlete at the end of his or her career when they believe they can still get the job done but clearly can't. Kolzig has certainly done a lot for this franchise and this community but it's clear that his better days are behind him. He was pulled on Sunday not because he wasn't playing well, but because Boudreau was sending a message to the team. It has happened to Kolzig before in his career and Kolzig regularly throwing his coach and teammates under the bus cannot be good for the locker room.

While it is good to see that the fire still burns in Kolzig and he's not out to earn a paycheck; it does cause me some concern that he will end up playing for somebody else next season if he can't get a contract worked out with the Caps. It's bad enough seeing Kolzig breakdown in a Caps uniform, it will be even worse to continue to watch it in somebody else's. It is my hope that Kolzig does retire at the end of this season and at least agrees to stay on as a mentor to Michal Neuvirth and Simeon Varlamov and does not go to play for somebody else.

As for the topic of the article itself, well it is a shame that Kolzig is on his way out as the team starts to climb back up but that's the way things go sometimes. Every sport is filled with great players who never won a championship for some reason or another. Kolzig deserves kudos for sticking around through the rebuilding when other veteran players asked to be moved. Kolzig has been the face of the franchise for a long time but do you realize it has been ten years now since Kolzig sparked our run to the Stanley Cup Finals? Some have tried and others are currently trying (take a look at the Red Wings roster) to play forever. But the end eventually comes to everybody. It would have been nice to have Kolzig coming up through the system now instead of 12 years ago that but isn't the case. We have to deal with the reality of the situation and not what we wish it was and the reality is, Kolzig is incapable of getting this team back to the Stanley Cup Finals and winning it. As long as Kolzig does not end up playing for some other NHL team in a vain attempt to "prove the Caps wrong" he'll leave his playing days behind with a fine reputation intact.

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