Loyal and resilient, Olaf Kolzig has played in 711 NHL games, all of them with the Washington Capitals organization. You would think that he would be treated with a truckload of respect from the team that he has given his heart and soul to, instead he has been given a slap to the face.
At the latest trade deadline, the tireless, hard worker was replaced with a younger, quicker model, in Cristobal Huet. It was a gamble that paid off for Washington GM George McPhee, as Huet ran to an 11-2 record following his acquisition as he lead the Caps to the playoffs.
In doing so, the Capitals stripped the starting position that Kolzig held for 12 seasons. His game may have been starting to slip downhill but that’s not the way to treat an employee that has stuck with his team throughout their many seasons at the bottom of the NHL food chain.
Caps fans are able to argue with me because Huet pushed his team into the playoffs under improbable odds. But that’s the thing it was very doubtful. The Green Bay Packers would never have replaced Brett Favre if his play dipped, he has given too much to the team and the community.
Same with Olaf Kolzig, declaring that his time with the team was done following their season’s conclusion, was not how it should have ended. He should have been given the opportunity to walk out on his own terms, he deserved better.
Trying to bounce back, Kolzig will suit up for a revamped Lightning team, this season. He will likely share time between the pipes with Mike Smith, who played 34 games last season, with a respectable .901 save percentage on the league‘s worst team.
While Olaf Kolzig’s pride might be shot, I’m hoping for the best for the veteran goaltender.