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Choose whatever nickname you like, but—-either way—-one thing is for certain: The Washington Capitals’ Olaf Kolzig did not have his best game last night against the New York Islanders. After going down a pair of goals in the first two periods, the Caps made a third-period comeback off of goals from Alexander Ovechkin and Tomas Fleischmann, only to then surrender three more goals in the third period before finally losing 5-2. At least three of the five goals Kolzig gave up should have been saves; a fourth goal—-Bill Guerin‘s third of the night—-could, arguably, also be considered a soft goal. (Didn’t Guerin retire, like, two decades ago?)
Kolzig detractors will proclaim that the season is over unless the organization immediately trades Kolzig, Brian Sutherby, and Steve Eminger to the Vancouver Canucks for Roberto Luongo—-who should be able to tend goal until Caps goalie prospect Simeon Varlamov develops into the second coming of Jesus Christ. (Sounds like a good deal to me—-get Vancouver on the line, GMGM!) Kolzig apologists, meanwhile, will point to the Caps’ pathetic powerplay (which went 0-6, including a lengthy 5-on-3) and defensive miscues before inevitably mentioning Kolzig’s leadership qualities, loyalty to the organization, and 2000 Vezina trophy as reasons to cut him some slack.
I’m going to sit here, drink my coffee, and say “Yeah, Olie didn’t look so hot last night. Hopefully he’ll look better next time. This shitty office coffee would go better with a donut.”
How can I remain so calm and dashingly handsome with pucks finding the back of Kolzig’s net almost half a dozen times in one night? Well, despite his consistently above average (and occasionally stellar) play during his many years with the organization, Kolzig has earned the reputation of letting in, on average, one soft goal per game. So, of the three weak goals he gave up last night, count one as overdue from the shutout he earned against the Carolina Hurricanes earlier this month, another as his softie for the night, and the last as an advance payment for the Caps’ next game—-which, coincidentally, is this Saturday night against the teams’ most despised rivals, the Pittsburgh Penguins. So, you see, Kolzig was actually just getting his weak goal for Saturday night’s game taken care of a couple of nights early, as Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Penguins really don’t need any help in the scoring department. Kolzig, my man—-you’re a genius!