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Caps' Confidence Gets a Boost

Okay, I've got to admit that I'm surprised (stunned, even) by last night's performance by the Caps. Yep, they are still in last place in the Eastern Conference after a 4-3 shootout loss in Detroit, but take a look at the standings. Considering that miserable start ...

In the dressing room after the game, there was a sense of disappointment, of course. But I also got the distinct feeling after talking to several players that the result gave them a collective confidence boost. They had gone toe-to-toe with the league's best team, in the league's toughest arena, on national television, and came away with a hard-fought point. (Only two other teams have left Joe Louis with something to show for their effort -- Chicago twice in regulation and Edmonton in a shootout).

Confidence is hard to measure, but it should not be underestimated.

"We can take a lot from this," defenseman Tom Poti said. Detroit "has only lost six or seven games all year, and we stuck right with them for 65 minutes. If we keep going out and giving a consistent effort like that, we're going to be fine."

Alex Ovechkin, who netted his 24th goal, added: "We don't give up. We know we played hard. It was a great time for us. We played a great team in a great place."

"We're going to get back at it and keep on rolling," defenseman Shaone Morrisonn said.

Olie Kolzig, meantime, was already looking ahead:

"We won three, lost one, then came right back and we won, got an other point.," Kolzig said. "We can make a real statement by winning Thursday ( at home vs. Montreal) and Saturday (on Long Island) and feeling good about ourselves going into the break."

"If you told me before the game that we would have gotten a point out of tonight, I think all of us would have pretty happy with that. ...I don't look at a shootout loss as a loss. I look at it as a tie."

In addition to a point, the Caps also earned a well-deserved day off. I'm going to be traveling until mid-afternoon, but I'll update the blog with any news upon returning.

Update:I'm trying to get some new info on the injured players -- Chris Clark (strained groin muscle) and Boyd Gordon (broken right hand), but I haven't heard anything yet. In the meantime, I jut got off the phone with Jeff Schultz, whose first period goal last night was No. 5 on the season and moved him into a tie with Nicklas Backstrom, Tomas Fleischmann and Clark for fifth on the team. It also moved him into a tie with Chris Pronger and seven others for 12th among defensemen.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  December 18, 2007; 9:45 AM ET
 
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Next: Injuries;Boudreau's Status;Kolzig on Simon

Comments

Tarik,

I couldn't agree more with your comment that you view last night's game as a tie rather than a shootout loss. After Detroit scored that third goal, I said to myself, this game is over. I totally expected the boys to hang their heads and accept defeat as I had. Too my surprise and many others, they keep their heads up, faught back and tied it up. Great, great game. Its a shame it has to end with a skills event. GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: Don-Ald | December 18, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

K,

I think you and others are not giving the defense enough credit. Whether it be a better system or the extra experience, I think the defense is a thousand times better than last year. I don't think the defense as been the problem this season. Up until the last couple of weeks, this team wasnt scoring goals. Now that they are scoring more frequently, they are winning games and playing much better. Not only is the team playing better defensively but the defensemen are contributing offensively as well! I believe this team has a bright future on the blue line, with a solid core of Morrinson, Jurcina, Green, Shultz, Alzner (maybe next year?). Things are looking up in my opinion.

Posted by: Leigh | December 18, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Thought the Caps played great last night. Sure someone will find fault with something, nobody plays a perfect game, but I thought it was a darn good effort.

I guess the book on Ollie is go to the backhand during a shootout. That was the only big disappointment during the whole night. I am sure he will be ready next time now that he and the rest of the hockey world is aware.

Posted by: Muddapucker | December 18, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Ahhh -- so we finally figured out why Kolzig is not good in the shootout! He needs to start considering a SO loss a loss, rather than a tie.

Posted by: Jeff | December 18, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Muddapucker -- the book on Kolzig, before last night I guess, was to get him moving sideways and go 5-hole. Now it looks like going forehand-backhand works, in addition to getting his long legs open. Maybe he should try a poke check the next time he is in a shootout.

Posted by: Jeff | December 18, 2007 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I think I can say now that I have the Caps figured out. They play to the level of their opponents. Consider the following:

Defeated Ottowa and Toronto convincingly in their barns, lose to Atlanta and Florida. Losses to NJ, then win a week later. Defeats the Rangers and Flyers, lose to TB, lose to Detroit in SO.

Most of the wins and losses are by 1 goal.

Champions are consistent players. We're not there yet. Working at it, but not there.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 18, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Only 5 points out of 8th place-unbelievable.

Posted by: dave | December 18, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Great game. The Caps effort was outstanding.
I wish they would let Johnson play more often; it is not that Kolzig has lost his confidence, it is that he has lost youth and reflexes.

Posted by: Joe | December 18, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Caps played great last night. They didn't just get a point, but they looked good doing it. That has great implications for the rest of the season. 5 points out of 8th place is right. Their lousy start has not sunk the entire season.

Posted by: Jack A | December 18, 2007 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Yes, 5 points out, but it's too hard to guestimate where everyone's points would be at the 34 game point. The Caps have played 1 - 3 games more than the rest of the below the # 8 spot pack.

Posted by: Steve R | December 18, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

@ Jeff

Well, someone didn't tell the Wings what the book said. My guess is that it was working (going to the backhand) so they kept doing it until he stopped it. I suppose the book has been rewritten.

My guess is he is going to see a lot of forehand-backhand until he stops them consistently or at least occassionally.

One thing does worry me a bit... In the Caps OT loss to Fla, Stephan Weiss beat Ollie on a backhander for the game winner. I wonder if his failure to react to the backhand move is more a matter of fatigue...

Thats four forehand-back hand moves in a row that have gotten by Ollie in OT.

Posted by: Muddapucker | December 18, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Greg, We beat Tampa. We lost to Buffalo.

Great game last night. That's 9 points out of a possible 12 in the last 6 games. Granted, we're probably not going to be able to keep up that kind of pace for the rest of the season, but 7-8 points every 12 games would keep the team in the hunt.

Posted by: EricS | December 18, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Kolzig conceded all three goals in the SO laying on his belly.

According to NHL.com, neither of the Caps' goalies in the top 30(!) of the league's best. He is 31st in GAA (2.88) and 33rd in SV% (.896) out of 39 goalies on the list. We cannot make the play offs with this overpaid fella in goal.

Posted by: Finn | December 18, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I kept saying OT in my previous post... I meant Shootout!

Posted by: Muddapucker | December 18, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

@Finn,

I wouldn't say that the Caps can't make the playoffs with Olie in net, but the odds are longer.

Posted by: Steve R | December 18, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

@EricS

If the Caps only manage 8 points/12 games for the rest of the season, they will barely crack the 60 point mark. I highly doubt that would keep them in contention.

Unfortunately for the Caps, they really do have to play lights out for the rest of the season if they plan on making the playoffs this year after that horrendous start. But if they've proven anything thus far is that they are capable at playing at the highest of levels in the NHL. They just need to keep it going.

Posted by: SuperCaps | December 18, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

First off, way to go CAPS. To hang in there with the best team in the league, that is a major accomplishment, and shows that we have a lot of heart, and could possibly, even though unlikely make a push in the second half of the season.

Now onto the real issue at hand...Has anyone noticed that all of the goals last night came on the glove side of Kolzig? this was evident on the shootout as all the shooters went low glove side. I am wondering is Olie, not very good on his glove hand, or is his age finally catching up to him?

Posted by: pstylee | December 18, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Not to speak for EricS...but I'm pretty sure he meant the Caps need to earn 12 points every 7 or 8 games.

Posted by: Jeff | December 18, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Steve R, what you said is probably better put. The odds are much much muuuuch longer. I think if the Caps are not in the play off hunt (with REASONABLE expectations) by the trade deadline, move Kolzig and get something better in return.

Posted by: Finn | December 18, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

The Caps need to average about 7.5 wins out of every 12 to be in contention. That is what EricS must have meant...

Posted by: Muddapucker | December 18, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

SuperCaps,

I think Eric meant the Caps would have to get 8 of 12 possible points, not 8 points every 12 games.

If they do that they'd have 93 or 94 (depending how you do the math exactly)

Posted by: dmg | December 18, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I think our season officially begins now.

We're, what, 5 points out of 8th? With the Caps playing their hearts out the way they have been, that shouldn't be an insurmountable goal.

Hell, we might even end up 4th or 5th, especially if we keep playing the way we did last night.

I tip my hat to you, Capitals.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | December 18, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

From ESPN:

Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon tells the Chicago Tribune, "I'll be on the phone again [Tuesday]" trying to work a trade to help his team's offense.
Chicago is so thin at forward that defenseman-turned-winger Dustin Byfuglien is on the top line with Robert Lang and Martin Havlat, according to the Tribune.

Trade them Kozlov! Laing won't win any scoring titles, but at this point I'd prefer his all out effort every night than watching Kozlov play one or two decent shifts a night and then phone the rest in. At some point, Gordon and Clark will be healthy, and roster moves are going to be required.

Posted by: Jeff | December 18, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Whether they make it or not this season, I feel safe predicting that there's going to be some wildly exciting hockey happening in the second half.

We are now tied with Atlanta for last in the conference, and three points ahead of the Kings for last in the league. The Lightning, Panthers, and Isles are all three of fewer points ahead of us.

The Canadiens are more than beatable - 4-4-2 in their last 10. Beyond that, it's the Lightning, Isles, and Pens.

They are now officially in the thick of it. It's time to focus and push harder than ever.

Posted by: HolyOlie | December 18, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I was really impressed with Backstrom yesterday. It was one of his best games. At some moments he was outshining everyone on ice. Definitely a great star in making.

Posted by: alexovetjkin | December 18, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Here's reaction from Detroit fans:

34719. Now that was a hockey game
by TheBrowLives, 12/17/07 22:48 ET

2 teams into it, quality scoring chances, good saves, energy in the building. Everyone got their monies worth tonight. Thanks Gary for letting us see Ovechkin once every 3 years you ahole!

Posted by: alexovetjkin | December 18, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Great effort, great game. I couldn't help but notice all the SO goals were lefties going backhand. Do left-handed shooters pose a particular challenge for Olie?

Posted by: frets | December 18, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

For the last two years, I have been a big Matt Bradley detractor. I could not understand why he was on this team.

I take that all back. Last night, I couldn't wait to see Bradley on the ice. He is a forechecking monster - had an awesome chance in the game's first 20 seconds, then set up Sarge's goal.

Compared the forechecking effort of the 1st line - miserable - the Bradley line looked like all-stars. They bottled up the friggin' Red Wings in their house. Wow.

Matt Bradley, I am a convert.

Posted by: katzistan | December 18, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I am looking forward to next year's schedule changes. I want to see Detroit, San Jose and other teams from the West play here every year... Or at least more often than once every 3 years!

P.S. Kolzig needs to retire. Seriously.

Posted by: Finn | December 18, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Right now I generally don't care if the win is ugly or the loss is pretty, I want the points. I want the playoffs. But... I am a Caps fan and have to appreciate how the team played overall last night.

And I think last night's game was educational for the guys at a very opportune time in terms of how the team is playing, the coaching situation, and where we are in terms of points and time left. It only cost us 1 point too. I think it was worth it :)

Posted by: austinsteve | December 18, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Don't Give Up, Don't Ever Give Up!!! The Caps are living by that motto and we as fans should do the same. Until the 16 playoff spots are locked anything is possible. So, we as fans must not give up on this team. They are turning it around at the right time and damn they are playing some exciting hockey along the way.

Posted by: Mitch | December 18, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

The Red Wings are who we thought they were.......AND WE LET EM OFF THE HOOK!!!!!

Posted by: Bruce Boudreau | December 18, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

"There's not many teams that keep us off kilter all night long like they did tonight," Detroit Coach Mike Babcock said. "I was impressed, I really was."

Nice effort & game, Caps!
It would have been fantastic, if OV had scored on that beautiful OT give & go. Furthermore, Semin's confidence got a boost last night, let's hope.


Posted by: Hattrick23 | December 18, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I just threw up a little in my mouth that someone on here actually called Schultz 'Sarge'.

Posted by: keef | December 18, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Semin wont score again for another 3 games

Posted by: Brad | December 18, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Bruce - your killing me! hahahaha!

Posted by: Joel | December 18, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

that was the absolute worst f-ing display of shootout goaltending, or goaltending period, i have ever seen in my life. thanks a lot olie, YOU LOST THE GAME.

Posted by: SHEESH | December 18, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the press is starting to come to the team...just checked my NHL.com RSS feed and three stories have run since this morning. :)

Posted by: keef | December 18, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

The fact Kolzig is saying it isn't a loss is pretty frustrating. He gave up on 3 for 3 in the shootout. The rest of the team may have tied, but you Kolzig--lost.

He's performing like 5.5 million dollars? No, he's detracting from the team financially, morale-wise, and competitively.

Posted by: czechsmix | December 18, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

As crazy as it is, the Caps are actually in striking distance of winning their division. Eight points beyond Carolina with half a season to go is not insurmountable. Long live the Southeast!

Posted by: Cpl Cespod | December 18, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

If Kozlov doesn't hit the iron we don't know what would've happened. It's not like Hasek made a save in the shootout either, Kozlov missed and that really cost us.

Posted by: ContractorFactor | December 18, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those questioning Kolzig's performance.

He wasn't beat by some "majic shots" in the SO. They were routine backhanders. Now we see his mentality -- SO losses are not losses. Well, they are!

He is 31st in GAA and 33rd in SV%. Aweful! Do you think we can get a better goalie for $5.45 million? I bet we can! Brodeur makes less than Kolzig! Bryzgalov will make less than Kolzig next year.

Posted by: Finn | December 18, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

I wanted to add that because he is 31st in GAA and 33rd in SV%, he is worse than some backups!!! Aweful!

Posted by: Finn | December 18, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Finn,

Just out of curiousity, how do you really feel about Kolzig? You haven't quite made it clear enough. You should post the same comment 75 more times just to clear up your position.

Posted by: Leigh | December 18, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Ok, Olie detractors. Yes, old Olie is not young Olie. Yes, even my three year old would know to go backhand on him. But, enough gnashing of teeth: let's hear your plan.

Remember that Olie is the "de facto" captain and has a lot of respect from his teammates. So, what do we do? Do we start Johnny? No thanks. Johnny is not a starting goalie, he's a back-up. Sure, you can win with a back-up (ask the Bears last night), but don't bet on it long term.

Do we trade for a new goalie, and if so, do we send Olie away or have them share time? Let's say we trade him. Then, he'll go to a contender. No contender is going to want to give up a starter. In rare instances (like Ottawa) they may have two starters, but wouldn't they really want to keep them both, just in case? We are not trading Olie to Columbus to end his career unhappy in a non-contender. That's just not happening.

So, let's say we keep him, then what? Does he back up new goalie? Do they split time?

Enough with the Olie bashing in favor of "another" who is unkown. From now on, I would urge a comment norm/rule that all Olie bashing must now contain a proposal as to a solution that does not involve Johnson as the day-to-day starter or even a 50/50 share.

Thanks for reading this rant.

Posted by: old time hockey | December 18, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

SHEESH & czechsmix,

The Caps have 9 points in their last 6 games, and Kolzig backstopped all but one of them.

Should Boudreau lay off of him a bit and let Johnson have a shot between the pipes a little more often? Yeah, probably.

Should GMGM be keeping his options open as far as negotiating for a younger, quicker goalie goes? Yeah.

But for now, he's what we've got to work with. He's playing well - not great, but well enough to keep us competitive. CALM DOWN.

Posted by: HolyOlie | December 18, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Leigh, how do you feel about Kolzig?

Posted by: Finn | December 18, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

You are a m0r0n! Kolzig is still one of the better goalies in the league. You were one of the "fans" who were shouting to bring in Oulette, a goalie not even still playing. A shoot out is a skills competition, it is NOT hockey, it is simply an exibition from the all star game, put in to keep know nothing fans like you happy. Losing a skills competition is not the end of the world unless you are a simpleton soccer fan!

Posted by: Bob | December 18, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Finn,

I generally agree with a lot of what you have said about Kolzig. I agreed with it the 1st time you said it. I have agreed with it the subsequent 25 times you have said it. All I'm saying is there's no reason to rehash the same comment over and over again unless someone asks you directly about it and/or you are adding something new about the subject.

Posted by: Leigh | December 18, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

@Bob: http://www.nhl.com/nhlstats/app?service=direct&page=Home&component=completeGAALeaderList

There's the list of the better goalies in the league.

Posted by: keef | December 18, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"Kolzig is still one of the better goalies in the league"

Look at his stats. The numbers don't lie.

Posted by: Finn | December 18, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

@oldtimehockey

Why don't we trade Olie to Minnesota for Josh Harding? He's the backup there, his SV% is as good as Backstrom's, and both Harding and Kolzig are better backups than the team really needs... Could add a draft pick, or effing Nylander (hey, he sucks on ice, but his huge numbers of secondary assists sure look good) and Kozlov to the mix... That has the added advantage of us not having to drop Motzko and Laing once Gordo and Clark get back, as well.

Posted by: MikeZ | December 18, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Leigh, I was just really upset that the excellent performance by the team was not matched by Kolzig in the SO.

Posted by: Finn | December 18, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

yes, Kolzig may have backstopped most of our previous wins, but seriously his GAA is crap. The fact we are winning is based mostly on the sheer amount of goals we are scoring, not one how many Kolzig is stopping.

He did get us to the finals one year, but seriously people--that was almost ten years ago. He lost us the game vs. Buffalo with that stupid, stupid play and he did nothing to help us win the shooutout last game.

And Bob, whether you like it or not, the shooutout helps decide standings. So a modern NHL goaltender has to perform well in them.

Posted by: czechsmix | December 18, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

GET THE HELL OFF OLIE!!! That game should have been a 5-3 loss if it weren't for some saves he made. EVERYONE WHO READS THIS BLOG AND THE MESSAGE BOARDS SHOULD BE HAPPY they came out of Detroit with a point...this game could have been ugly. People, no, Olie is not what he was, and Bryzgalov was NOT going to take this team to the finals...let it go...but I'm not going to jump on him cause he makes a bad turnover Sat or he couldn't stop shots in the shootout... Goaltending is the LAST thing this team needs to be concerned about. Not many goaltenders would have been able to stop those 3 shots in the skills competition held after the game...He may not have much left in the tank, but I'd rather have him in goal than Johnson against a team like Detroit. Olie takes a lot of grief...no matter if he gives up 50 goals in a game or posts a shutout...it's all about 'those are ones he should have had'. If you think that so much, put on the pads and let OV pepper you with some shots. LETS GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2007 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I believe the NHL should do away with the shootout and expand the overtime period to 10 minutes of 4v4 hockey. Honestly, what does 5 minutes solve? It's virtually a given that once a game hits overtime then you're going to a shootout. There are some games that aren't like that, but even still the shootout, like mentioned above, is nothing but a skills competition to keep the fans interested. It still doesn't make sense to me how they implement the shootout to declare a winner but still give the losing team a point. Either you win the game in regulation or OT or both teams walk away with 1 point and a tie.

Posted by: Mitch | December 18, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Hell, for 5.5 million a year I'd let OV pump shots at me with no pads on. It would beat having a 9-5 desk job and the pain medication would rock!!!

Posted by: Mitch | December 18, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

@ Jeff - you wrote just what I was thinking when I read tha quote from Olie. A shootout loss is a loss, not a tie. It was a great effort last night, but giving up 3 identical goals in the shootout was a terrible ending. I'm happy we got one point, but the way they played for 65 minutes, we could (and should) have gotten 2. I'll bet BB feels the same way.

@katzistan - Welcome to the Matt Bradley Fan Club! We are always accepting new members. I'm glad he's finally getting the recognition he has deserved for some time. As one of the few players on the Caps who does his job every night, people should be taking notice.

Posted by: Jill | December 18, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Mitch,
LOL

On a serious note, that $5.5 million salary has left him with no room for excuses.

Posted by: Finn | December 18, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Agreed Olie is not what he once was - I know that I am probably one of the few... but I think that Olie deserves some loyalty and not be tossed around in trade or embarressed. Most likely he will not be back, but he has spent his whole career here and could have bailed on the team a long time ago when we did stink. That should count for somehting. Like it or not Olie was a HUGE part of the Caps success. Sometimes there are certain players that deserve more than they got. Just an example, I never liked the way Anderchuck was just ran out of Tampa when he gave everything and more. Yes he wasnt what he was - but I think in some cases you make an exception to handle the situation with as much class and respect for someone who has given so much.
Caps fans are always accused of getting attached to players - but I like that better than throwing them away every season.

Posted by: gamer | December 18, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

@old time hockey and others

There would be no takers of Olie on any kind of trade. Why? Several reasons, but first above all others, he's UFA at the end of the year. He's the highest paid goalie in the league (I think, if not, one of the highest). If you traded for him, you'd have to negotiate a deal with him at the end of the season unless you're willing to give him up at the end of it.

Once you get past that, then you're into performance issues. Nuff said on that score.

We have Olie for the rest of this year. If GMGM keeps him around for next year, I would be surprised and dissappointed. Frankly, I wouldn't offer him much.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 18, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

It seems after every loss, there is a new scapegoat to jump on. This game it's Olie, but surprisingly, he pops up more often than not and most of us tend to agree that he's not the same player he used to be.

I admire his loyalty, the fans' loyalty, and the team's loyalty. If you look around the league, he's probably a back-up at this point for every other team. He can't be a starter forever, perhaps it's time to keep the loyalty intact but get that young gun between the pipes sooner than expected.

Posted by: keef | December 18, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I love me some Olie but lately he seems to get up from the butterfly v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

Makes me kinda nervous.

Posted by: Jill | December 18, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

@gamer,

I'm with you. Olie, whatever his failings, needs respect. Offer to trade him to Ottawa or somewhere with a legit cup chance. (See my previous post about why that may not be too likely.) Otherwise, let him finish the year here and retire. 100% chance this is his last year. He knows it, his family knows it, every other GM in the league knows it, and we know it.

Prediction: if we are out of the hunt, and he is still here come April 1, he'll announce that hte game on April 5th is his last. Buy tickets now.

Posted by: old time hockey | December 18, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Why throw the retire card out there? Let him keep his one team record alive and play back-up here. Yeah, it's some humble pie to choke down, but it keeps him on the team and gives us a solid back-up.

Posted by: keef | December 18, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I agree that our defense is better I just don't think they are as good as they need to be. Lets face it for the most part they are still pretty young and I think we could definately be helped by an experienced d-man who actually contributes and isn't just average.

Posted by: K | December 18, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I posted this in one of the latest "Olie sucks" threads on the message boards, and it belongs here, too:


People, take a look at this:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=SN3USCF8GIM

This is a highlight compilation someone made of the "3 best goalies of the 1998 playoffs". Start viewing at about 1:45 for Kolzig's section.


Do you see any differences there? Does he look that much slower? Are the saves that much more spectacular? Or does he make basically the same saves these days? And this doesn't even count the goals he let in...these are just saves.

My point is that, while he's not as young as he was, people are probably glamourizing the Olie of old, and expecting too much of him right now. When we give up good goals to good teams (like last night), people still blame Olie, because they're LOOKING to do so. Yes, he has off nights, but EVERY goaltender does. The problem around here is that people look for ways to turn decent outings into horrible performances (like last night, which was excellent except for the shootout).


Look again at the video...what else do you see? Watch closely...do you see a Caps defensemen HITTING, MAULING, OR PUNCHING the shooter and anyone in the crease, especially immediately after the shot? Look at the protection he was getting. Do you see that these days? Hell no.

Do you see a lot of lateral movement? No. That's not his game, and never was. See how he's out beyond the crease or at the top of it on a lot of plays, getting into position. When you have a team that can keep your lines of sight clear, you can get set up like that. When you have a team that can force shots to come from certain spots, you can make saves like that.

He's never been much of a lateral-movement goalie, unless he was pad-stacking (or racing to the post when totally beaten). You don't see much pad-stacking in the league anymore to begin with. From anyone. Pad-stacking can take you out of the play and create big rebounds, especially if you don't have a defense corps capable of clearing people out or clearing rebounds.

I see rebounds, but I see defensemen right there to pester the shooters or gobble up the rebound. Nothing different there.

What you also don't see is him having to get up off the ice quickly very often. Much of the time, when he went down for the save, that was it. Someone cleared it or he froze it via the save or a defenseman stuffing it under him. And when you do see him try to get up, it looks THE SAME AS HE LOOKS NOW. He's a big guy, and always has been.


My point is that this is the same old Olie, just a little bit slower, but playing behind a VASTLY different team over the last several years. People are looking to find ways he's fallen off, but the criteria is wrong. He never was any of the things people claim he used to be. He was a very good positional goalie that covered a lot of net/ice naturally, and he had a top-notch defensive corps in front of him.


Contrast that with this game from earlier in the year:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=YzTE70h91Mg

The first goal is a PP goal by Zednik, I think. Notice that Olie still is out at the top of the crease for the shot, and still makes the save. Does he give up a "big" rebound? No, it's a small one. But it's shot into the net because the Caps defenseman (Schultz) doesn't lay a finger on the guy standing right there, in Olie's grill. Is there a goalie in the league that can stop that? No. Not even 1998 Olie.

Watch the saves just before the clock counts down to 14:00 left in the first. Does he look "slow" there? Slower than 1998, even? No. Same moves. And actually pretty quick to get on his feet. Luckily, someone swats the puck away after the rebound. Then, as the play continues, he makes a great lateral movement save on a backdoor cutter that's almost a mini-stack. That folder is as good as 1998. But the team defense is wretched.

Look at the save at about 8:25 in the first. Just before that, see how many Caps are overloaded and shadowing the puck? Four freakin Caps on the wing, and NOBODY covering two Panthers who are streaking to the net weakside. But Olie STILL gets to the other post and makes the save, even freezing the puck.

The next few scenes are of a PK for the Caps. Olie stops several shots by dropping into the butterfly. Look slower than 1998? No.

About 15:15 in the third, same thing. Has to drop down a couple of times, then right back up.

3:25 to 3:17 in the third, more lateral movement as he covers a wraparound threat, then gets back over to make a scrambling save, which he freezes.

Then there's the shootout at the end....despite a lot of great saves and something like 11 or so rounds, people here, now, would miss all of the things I've described above and focus ONLY on the shots Olie didn't stop. I guess he just sucks, and 1998 Olie was SO much better. (sarcasm)

Posted by: Jupe | December 18, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I hear someone is badmouthing Olie in here?

Posted by: Donald Brashear | December 18, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

@Jupe: Thanks for the video and your thoughts. If anyone's seen the Discovery video about hockey goalies and reflexes, they proved that Olie's reflexes are as quick as a cat's (this was from the beginning of this season).

He's a perplexing player at times...making beautiful saves in one game, just to let softies in the next (or sometimes even within the same game). But it seems that younger goalies are having great success in this post-lockout NHL and that they are more lithe between the pipes. A better look at how well Olie's performed might be to grab the stats from '05 to today....

Posted by: keef | December 18, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

...actually, don't look from '05 to today, that'll just show horrid stats for a team lacking defense. :)

Posted by: keef | December 18, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Jupe, the Olaf Kolzig of 1998 is about a thousand times better on the recovery than Olie nowadays. I didn't know that Kolzig was never good at controlling his rebounds, but that and his five-hole are really what holds Kolzig back nowadays.

And, look at the first goal: watch was Kolzig does. Kolzig '07 froze for about half a second after the rebound, then slowly rolled to the left, trying to stop. Kolzig '98 would make a full dive, or a kick-out, at much higher speed, much sooner.

The 14:00 shots show that Kolzig still has competence, but his recovery is still much slower than '98 Kolzig - and he's much less consistent with the rapid saves.

I agree with your statement that we need better defense, but you have to admit that Kolzig is not what he used to be.

Posted by: MikeZ | December 18, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

If someone had told me back in October that by mid-December, Jeff Schultz would have as many goals as Nicklas Backstrom, I wouldn't be too hot on Nicklas Backstrom. Nice how that turned out.

Posted by: HolyOlie | December 18, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

The reason all you Olie apologists should be getting nervous right about now, is Bruce Boudreau.

Bruce demands accountability. He's not afraid to sit guys who aren't performing and play people who are.. and he's already called out Olie in public. Olie the Sacred Cow has a higher goals against average than Jason LaBarbera from the STINKING LA KINGS along with 30 other NHL goalies (including Bryzgalov, but I digress).

And by the way, I love the fact that Bruce rolls Olie out there every night. Bruce knows Brent Johnson is hardly the answer. Olie makes the big bucks -- Bruce thinks he should have to earn them. But eventually, Bruce will decide that the team has bought into his system, and all the pistons are firing except for one.

And no, I don't have a solution to what GM will have to do once that day of reckoning finally comes. He should have picked up Bryzgalov, and he didn't. And so I will continue to post whenever I damn well please, as I wait for the day when Bruce has had enough of his Sacred Cow.

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | December 18, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

i actually stopped listening to the game online after detroit scored that third goal, so i was pleasantly surprised to hear that it went to a shootout. and i have to say, it feels nice to be disappointed in a shootout loss to detroit. :)

Posted by: sonia | December 18, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Oneal,
+1

Posted by: Finn | December 18, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm not saying retire him. I just wouldn't expect anyone to want him at the amount that he'll demand - us included. I think we offer him significantly less than what he's at now as a back-up, trade Johnson and someone or a pick for a reasonable goalie, and go on from there. Remember, we have a hot shot in the WHL in goal that will be on the Canadian Junior Worlds team. Perhaps in 2 years he'll be ready for prime time.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 18, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

@Oneal: Don't forget that for his games played, Johnson makes the big bucks too. :)

Posted by: keef | December 18, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@keef,

Why throw retire out there? Because this is it. We need to accept that. Do you know who also needs to accept that: GMGM. We need a plan for next year. If the plan is to sign whoever is available next year in the FA market, fine. But, then they best be thinking about where that money is going to come from.

There is a zero percent chance he's here (or anywhere) next year. If I'm wrong, I'll eat my hat. The only question is: does he finish the year here and retire as the one-team loveable loser (i.e., non-cup winner) or do we ship him to San Jose to back up Nabokov and try and win the cup as a rental and then retire?

Posted by: old time hockey | December 18, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

olie gave up 3 goals on the road to a team averaging 3.5 goals per game. two of the goals were mere tip ins and the second goal would have required a 10 bell save that not many goalies would have made. perhaps if backstrom backchecked a little better on the third goal we wouldn't be having this olie bashing session.

not saying he should win the vezina, or that he doesn't give up a softy here or there, or that last nights SO performance didn't make me sick, but i don't think he's the hack he's being made out to be.

is there another goalie who has beaten ottawa at home, taken detroit to an SO at home and beated NJ this season?

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | December 18, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

beated = beaten

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | December 18, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

It's really a gamble, either way. If we trade him to a dominant team for next to nothing, and that team loses, then he won't be a cup winner or a one-team loveable loser.

I really don't envy Kolzig's position. He was a great goalie, and is a great leader, but this is the twilight of his career (which really shows in those post-game interviews that a lot of people were whining about before. Really, if I had to backstop this team for 14 years, I'd be pretty bitter, too...) Chances of him ever hoisting the Stanley are about nil, no matter how much he deserves it for his dedication for this team and to this game.

This team needs a great goalie... and Kolzig deserves a great team. Unfortunately, neither the Caps nor Kolzig fit in either category.

Posted by: MikeZ | December 18, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

@old time hockey: so you're writing off the possibility of him being a back-up? Is that because you don't think he'd want to be or because he's just that inept?

Posted by: keef | December 18, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

@CapFan1

Are there any goalies that have played away games in Ottawa and Detroit, and a game against New Jersey?

(Really, I don't know.)

Posted by: MikeZ | December 18, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

@ Jupe

Just a few thoughts... I am not an Ollie detractor to the extent I think he needs to be traded, banished or exiled.

I do believe that he is better than the average NHL goalie and certainly better than what we would otherwise get without him.

I do question fatigue in the shootouts. Movement is not his thing and his ability to recover from the forehand to backhand deke does not look sharp. His ability to get down low, glove side is suspect. It looks difficult for him...

I am sure the Wings saw Stephan Weiss beat him with the forehand-backhand deke for the game winner in the Florida Panther shootout. I don't believe its a coincidence that Detroit went three in a row in the same manner and potted each one.

Its something Ollie has to realize because apparently the rest of the league does and he has to figure a way to counter it..

Posted by: Muddapucker | December 18, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

@Mike Z,

Florida has been beaten by all three of them. Not sure who was in net though.

Posted by: Steve R | December 18, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

@SteveR
Craig Anderson, the backup, lost to Ottawa.

Posted by: MikeZ | December 18, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I thought that was a great game. I completely agree with olie about the shoot-out, I don't even think of it as part of the game just a ploy to gain ratings. A "loss" sucks, but we could have done a lot worse.

Posted by: DC FURY | December 18, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,
It's disappointing that you, and so many others, find solace, and are somhow pleased with losing. A score is kept because, "You play to WIN THE GAME." End of story. Otherwise, why bother. Real winners find no solace in losing. As the late great Head Coach of the Redskins, George Allen was fond of saying, "Losing is like dying." I couldn't agree more.

Posted by: Puckguru | December 18, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

he had a fine game, but the fact of the matter is that the shootout does count and its important to get the points. unfortunately, its part of the 'game' and it is crucial that your goalie be up to the task. what i saw last night was so pathetic and embarrassing, it seemed as though kolzig was the only person either at the game or watching on tv that didnt know EXACTLY where all three shooters were going, especially by the third, and yet he seemed to be less sure by the end, it was astonishing, and not in a good way. he showed no ability to adapt or react and his stubbornness was practically infuriating

Posted by: sheesh | December 18, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

mikez, an excellent point! looks like tampa bay has played at detroit (holmquist lost) at ottawa (holmquist win SO) and new jersey (homlquist lost).

carolina has played at detroit (ward lost) at ottawa (ward won) but not jersey.

florida has played at detroit (vokoun lost) at ottawa (lost twice, vokoun and anderson) and new jersey (vokoun lost)

atlanta played at ottawa (lost paveloc) lost at home to ottawa (lehtonen) lost to new jersey three times (hedberg twice, lehtonen)

so by proxy, we are the best team with the best goalie in the southeast!!

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | December 18, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Pucguru-I sort of agree but....
4 years ago, the game would have ended in a tie and I'm sure everyone would have been thrilled with that including you. Now, because of this shootout gimmick, the Wings get an extra point but the Caps still get their point. The Caps don't deserve to be called losers after last night's effort. But unfortunately, it is what it is.

Posted by: dave | December 18, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

GET RID OF THE SHUTOUT!!!!!!

Posted by: dave | December 18, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I am going to paraphrase what I mentioned in previous thread: I think that Olie has either lost his self confidence for shoot outs or last night in particular, he wasn't confident. I wonder if part of that is his mates haven't been successfull at the shoot out for a long time. Also, his glove hand isn't what it to be.

He may not be the goalie that he used to be, and he may need help in realizing that, but he has been an invaluable asset to the Capitals for a long time, and that shouldn't be just chucked away. Olie the Goalie deserves respect and great care should be given to his future.

As for the defence, they do make Olie's job harder since they are unable to clear the crease. The improvement in the defence has come from the agressive forechecking and backchecking by the forwards since Gabby arrived.

Posted by: Clarendon | December 18, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

dave,

Why should we get rid of "shutouts"? I wish Kolzig'd have a shutout every game!

Shootouts is a different matter...

Posted by: Finn | December 18, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

puckguru, but that we all should have the steely resolve and lombardi like attidtude that you have behind your keyboard.

i think the only thing tarik takes solice in is an on time flight and a warm press box. i think he was reporting on the game and the fact that the players confidence was boosted by the fact that they came back from two one goal deficits to the best team in the nhl at their house and didn't give up despite a late goal from detroit.

if losing is like dying to you, then here's hoping that the caps go on a ten game slide...

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | December 18, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I have been saying it for a long time, Kolzig is at best a back up goalie today. Someone ask for solutions. Well, I will give you the same solution I have given all along; Play him less and play Johnson more, until the Caps can bring up the goalie of the future. There is nothing else you can do.
This is a game of win and loses. It is not a game of love a player, have respect for a player, etc, etc. It is of what can you do for the team now, not what you did before - The players have been compensated well enough, either produce or get out of the way. Get over the love fest for players.
Contrary to what someone said, the biggest problem this team has is the goalie.

Posted by: Joe | December 18, 2007 3:40 PM | Report abuse

@Puckguru -- I see your point. but a loss in regulation isn't the same as an OT loss or shootout loss, so long as both teams are rewarded.

I don't make the rules.

Posted by: Tarik | December 18, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

@Keef,

I guess Kolzig could become the back-up here, but I just don't see a way in which we get a goalie this year that is better than him without sending him back as part of the deal. Goalies tend to be traded for other goalies. Most realistic might be a co-#1 arrangement, but those don't always work-out so well. And, Olie will hate wearing the baseball hat 50 percent of the time.

Let's hope he makes the HHOF...

@Joe,

Johnson is NOT the answer. I would rather have a plywood shooting target in net.

Posted by: old time hockey | December 18, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

@Tarik,

So, have you talked to Olie about his plans next year? Should we expect to see him on the golf course instead of training camp?

Posted by: old time hockey | December 18, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

"I would rather have a plywood shooting target in net"

Probably moves better side to side than Olie.

Posted by: Steve R | December 18, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

The shooting target that is

Posted by: Steve R | December 18, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

What a GREAT game last night! he rest of the league better take notice, The Caps are starting to head up in the standings. I know it was only a point in the standings, but it was a good point. They took the best Detroit had and they proved that we have some talent. I think Bradley was by far, the best of our forwards. And how about Semin, he was awesome last night.

Posted by: Matt | December 18, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Kolzig will never make the Hall of Fame. He has never won the Cup.

Posted by: Finn | December 18, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

@old time hockey.
Johnson might not be the long term answer, but playing him more will definitely give us a better chance of winning. Why?
1) Johnson has better reflexes than Kolzig, I dare say, today, he is a better goalie, and 2) it will allow Kolzig to rest and be fresher when he is playing.
I won't go as far as Steve R puts it, but I strongly disagree with your assessment of Johnson.

Posted by: Joe | December 18, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

If you fail to recognize the quality of the Caps game yesterday, you lose my respect. It's a hockey game. There WILL be errors on both parts, nobody's perfect. If Olie let a goal yesterday like Hasek did on AO or Schultz or even Semin you'd be screaming for his head. All the Caps goals could have been stopped by most NHL goalies given the right conditions, including Olie. Two of the three Wings goals were unstoppable.

Truth is, he didn't let any easy goal yesterday. And you're still screaming. I don't particularly want to defend Olie. I didn't like how he handled the puck on a couple of occasion yesterday and I don't particularly like his primadonna attitude nor the amount of money he's making. But he IS our goalie, has been for so many years. He deserves some respect with what after all is a good job. You guys are forgetting the good saves he did yesterday and focus on the negatives. He kept us on the game.

The shootout... yeah he had some faults there. But those were pretty damn good moves by Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Hudler.

Truth is, anything he does, you'll always scream for his head no matter what.


Posted by: mauree | December 18, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Nice article about Bruce on NHL.com . I guess a game like yesterday IS recognized by people who really knows hockey.

Posted by: mauree | December 18, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

@Mauree,

Honestly I'm more frustrated by the Caps failure to act to fix our goalie problem than anything else.

We know what we have in both Olie and Johnson: a pair of backups. GMGM could have made a move on the waiver wire, we've beaten that topic to death. That would have been a slight upgrade in net.

What's the answer? Hope that everyone turns into shot blocking machines like Laing? The more blocked, the less soft goals allowed. Score more goals? The Caps need 4 a game as 3 are being scored.

I agree, Olie is worthy of our respect. He's shown loyalty to the town, and that loyalty has been returned. It's time to ask what's better: be a "stand up" organization and back Olie for the rest of the year because of his years of service, or seek to make a change in the net and secure a #1 goalie for the next season and a half as the odds of getting to the playoffs are long with Olie as the full time goalie?

I wish I had the answer.

Posted by: Steve R | December 18, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Mauree, the system works and no criticism is needed!

I guess that's why we're first in the league, right?

Posted by: MikeZ | December 18, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

re olie in HHOF. i was surprised to see that olie's career record is .500, not including OTL's. thought it would be better. certainly not HHOF numbers. good guy hall of fame= first ballot, hockey hall of fame, not so much.

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | December 18, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

tarik re: shultz. how did you ever get him on the phone?? i would have imagined his phone would be blowing up with calls from the wizards looking for tips on how to shoot a jump shot. that goal last night had a great arc and rotation...nothing but net!!

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | December 18, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Olie won a Vezina an didn't flame out 2-3 years later. I'm fairly certain he'll be in the hall.

I did mean 8-9 points over a 6 game span. Crunching some number, if we maintain a 9 points in 6 games pace over the last 48 we end up 101 points. At 8 points in 6 games, that's about 92. 9 gurantees a playoff spot, 8 leaves us very very close to the over/under line.

Can we do it? Hard to say right now. Alot of guys will need to step it up even more and we would have to avoid more major injuries. I know I'll be beleiving we can do it till the numbers eliminate us.

Posted by: EricS | December 18, 2007 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Why are we making a big deal out of the caps playing well last night?

Its not like the US National under 18 team took on the Red Wings.

It was the Washington Capitals. They did what they are supposed to do..play professional hockey against other professional hockey players.

I will be more impressed if they can put together consistent efforts each night.

They got a point..big deal, they should have won the game..they came from behind then gave up the lead. AO failed to score on a 'breakaway' in OT and up until that point, that was the only pressure they put on in the extra session.

You have to admit, they did not play well in OT at all. If there were a few more minutes to the session, the Wings would have won, no doubt.

The shootout..Kolzig looked lost....

It was a good all around effort, but they failed to hold a lead and ended up opening the door for the Red Wings through sloppy play. Lets snap back to reality here. Yes, they are only 8 pts out of 8th, but they need to sure up their overall play before we start making plans for hockey in May.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2007 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Eric S
I don't think the 90 number will hold this year for 8th spot which should help us

Posted by: billd | December 18, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

What is going on with Steve Eminger?

Posted by: Chuck | December 18, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

5 points out of 8th according to nhl.com

Posted by: uh | December 18, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

agree w/ old time. caps have done enough negative to people that made/ carried the organization. i think olie gets better as season goes on and gets less stress from rest of team.

also what else you going to do? why rent bryz when season seemed in tank? how were they going to know they could get on a roll? also, what else you gonna do? even next year not sure about available goalies. ray emory from ottawa seems a question mark right now and if he was a definite, his price would stay high. tricky thing, goalies. gmgm should have had this under development years ago.

Posted by: jim* | December 18, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

@Chuck

Emminger's got a splinter in his ass.

Posted by: keef | December 18, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

@ 05:23 PM

Why are we making a big deal out of the caps playing well last night?
Nobody was. Somebody, you included it seems, are making a big deal about the loss. Thus the (appropriate) reactions.

Oh yeah, MikeZ . If the seasons started a dozen games ago we'd be on top. Not first, but well in the playoff spots. The "hole" was 6-14-1.

Posted by: mauree | December 18, 2007 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Keef!

I'd buy that, if he at least made it as far as the bench.

Posted by: Chuck | December 18, 2007 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Why do we need a goat every time we don't win? Geezes

It was a close game, we lost, but we get a point and I think we were lucky to get that. And let's be glad the Caps gave a good nationally-televised performace. Don't take that for granted!

The Caps can take a lot from last night's game, the biggest things is quality Experience for the young guys.

Posted by: Icebat | December 18, 2007 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Hehe, he shuffles on it a lot, what with the frequent cameos from different teammates.

Posted by: keef | December 18, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

@Old Time -- Olie will play next year. But he has not yet started negotiations with the Caps about returning. But that's not really a sign of anything.

@Chuck -- I have no idea why Eminger isn't playing. Neither does he. I'm expecting him to be traded around the deadline, if not sooner.

Posted by: Tarik | December 18, 2007 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Again M0R0NS! Perhaps when you grow up and learn about hockey, you will learn the difference between a bad goalie and bad defense. Our D is getting better, but they are still terrible, and I mean pathetic terrible! Trade Olie? Tampa, Boston, Atlanta, Toronto, all would take him tomorrow. ID1OTS!!! Soccer fans all!

Posted by: Bob | December 18, 2007 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tarik...How about a story around the All-Star break about adding some numbers to the rafters in Verizon...Gartner? Johansson? Bondra in a year or two? Hunter went up quick...Bondra should too.

Posted by: S.A Town | December 18, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?!? :-O

My prediction about Olie - he will be here until he is 40, but he will eventually be #2; Johnny will be gone next season and an "uber" keeper will come in to start.

Yes, OTG is a little slower, does get up slower and is past his prime, but he is still a solid player. He has been standing behind a less than perfect team for a LONG time, and his stats have suffered because of it. As the team improves, he improves. And while his SO performance was less than impressive last night, he played a great game, making some amazing saves.

RE: the HHOF, he will make it. You don't have to have a cup to get in, and he has other awards, longevity, a unique history, etc.. He deserves it - he'll make it.

Posted by: Boo! | December 18, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe how critical some of you "fans" are... what do you do for enjoyment in your lives? And one last question, do you hold yourselves as accountable at your chosen professions as you hold Olie, Kozlov, Tarik, etc, etc. I'm just saying...

Posted by: Dave in DC | December 18, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

@Bob,
You're right, it was our poor backchecking that led to three SHOOTOUT goals. (was that sarcastic enough?)

With that said, Kolzig has been good his entire career. He's still good, but i don't think there's ever been a time in his career that he's been great. He's never stolen games for the Caps( like old school Buffalo Hasek, or like Roberto Luongo was doing for Vancouver last season. When the Caps made their cup run, he had a fantastic defense in front of him (like Jupe pointed out with his videos above) and don't sleep on the '98 offense.

This season the Caps have had pathetic defensive play and when that happens you can only win in two fashions. 1) Pour in the goals and win 5-4 every night - which wasn't happening earlier this year. Or 2) Your goaltender stands on his head for 60 mins and you scrap together a 1-0 or 2-1 W. With Olie in the net, the caps don't get 60 mins of stellar goaltending (i don't need to rehash the stats - 2 shutouts in the last 139 games - but they're not great. and if stats aren't your cup of tea, then go to a game at the verizon center and watch him give up the 5-hole goal that comes standard with every Cap game.) So with the team's recent struggles his value ($5.5 million according to his contract) has come into question. That's all.
If the defense continues to improve (thanks to Boudreau simply making players accountable) and the offense holds up its end of the bargain, then the wins will start flowing and Kolzig adulation will resume among Caps fans because he is a more-than-capable goalie behind a good defense.

Posted by: Terpz | December 18, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

@Bob: Yo, I must be an idiot. I didn't see the f'ing defense on the ice during the shoot out. What an IDIOT I am.

Posted by: keef | December 18, 2007 9:14 PM | Report abuse

So who could the Caps get from Chicago for Kozlov plus Eminger?

Posted by: Kurt | December 18, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Been reading this string and my observation is that some of you people are amazingly brutal. Lighten up. They got a point last night when no one expected anything. Many contributed to getting that point, and some contributed to not getting 2 points. This includes the goalie (both ways--some great saves during the game as well as no saves in the gimmick shootout). OV missed a breakaway and often tried to do too much, giving away the puck at least a half dozen times. Brashear got a bad penalty and the Wings scored. Some defensive lapses at inopportune times, etc., etc. It all contributed to the end result. You have to look forward--too many of you are obsessed with laying blame at every turn.

Posted by: Phil | December 18, 2007 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,
I can't believe you're quibbling about the definition of a loss. Really, it's quite simple. THE TEAM WITH LESS POINTS IS THE LOSER. That's certainly not complex. The very fact that the NHL is the ONLY LEAGUE that actually rewards points for failure, is certainly instructive in understanding the whys, and wherefores of the games overall demise ( In this country ) as well as it's lack of popularity by the general public. Ours is a meat and potatoes society. Left vs. right. Black and white, if you will. The entire concept of being rewarded for failure is alien to most Americans. Your reply?

Posted by: Puckguru | December 18, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I repeat, the SO is a skills competition, exibition s**t, not hockey. You think if #1 goalies were a dime a dozen, Tampa or Toronto would not have one?

Posted by: Bob | December 18, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

I'd be in favor of adopting the points system they use in the world juniors championship.

3 points are awarded for a regulation win
2 points are awarded for a overtime / shootout win
1 point is awarded for a overtime / shootout loss
0 points for just plain ol' losing

Posted by: Caps fan in TN | December 18, 2007 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I love Olie, always have, and it does pain me to see him get beat, just like it pains me to see everybody blaming all of our problems on him.

Has he had bad games? Sure he has. The worst game of his this season was probably our first home game against the Islanders. But I think he's given us solid performances most nights, and for every weak goal he lets in (which I really wish he would cut down on) he usually makes 2 or 3 really excellent saves afterwards. And yes, he has struggled in shootouts, I'm not going to lie, but I'm not going to blame last nights loss on him. I was actually proud watching my Caps all last night, and afterwards.

Posted by: Stephen | December 19, 2007 12:10 AM | Report abuse

@Bob
I agree the SO is not hockey.
I disagree our defense is NOT terrible, although, it could improve.
Kolzig, was a good goalie once, but he should not be playing as many games as he has.
And for crying out loud, you have got to quit yelling at that mirror.

Posted by: Joe | December 19, 2007 12:17 AM | Report abuse

A few more thoughts:

@Puckguru

Watching the game last night, I really understood why the losing team in OT/SO gets a point. We deserved it, fighting back against the best team to lengthen the game.

@To whom it may concern

My thoughts on Olie's future is that he'll sign an extention for much less money. He'll stick around for another year or two, splitting time more and more with Johnny. They'll hold us until either Neuvirth or Varlamov is fit to get their shot at the big time. That's just what I think

Posted by: Stephen | December 19, 2007 12:18 AM | Report abuse

By the way, I am not blaming Kolzig, I blame the coaches for not seeing that the guy can not longer play as much as he used to. He needs time to recover, the team needs to rest him more and let Johnson play.

Posted by: Joe | December 19, 2007 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Well that sucks. Carolina scored two goals in the last 1 min 30 seconds tonight to send it to OT, then won it.

Posted by: Raber | December 19, 2007 1:07 AM | Report abuse

olie's got at least 1 more good year in him. he got a pad in on the first so shot but it went over. he was playing probabilities by being low and covering the most area. a little overcomit (to his right) and slow to get back on the 1st shot but still got a pad on it.

Posted by: jim* | December 19, 2007 1:56 AM | Report abuse

Dave in DC-

You ask, "Do you hold yourselves as accountable at your chosen professions as you hold Olie, Kozlov,... etc.)

Of course I do. But I believe in working hard and succeeding at what I do, since it's MY JOB. It's how I put food on my table and a roof over my head, man. Why wouldn't I work hard? What's to be gained by coasting along? Christ, I wish I were paid $5.5 million for my current job. FIVE AND A HALF MILLION DOLLARS!

I say play Johnson and Olie 50/50, see what shakes out. If the Caps need to trade for a real #1 (it probably ain't Olie, folks), there's salary cap money to burn if Ted wills it.

Posted by: Kip | December 19, 2007 2:53 AM | Report abuse

looking forward ... *stares at the nayers* ...

We HAVE to get points against the Canadiens and the Islanders - they're direct contenders to playoff spots.

Here lies the old dilemma: will the Caps play at the high level they're capable of against these two, or will they lower their game? Will they overestimates themselves/understimate the opponents?

How will the 3 days rest affect the game? Last rest wasn't so helpful remember?

What we need is two shootouts.

Posted by: mauree | December 19, 2007 4:31 AM | Report abuse

Anyone know why the Caps seem to always shoot 2nd on shootouts- home or away?

Posted by: 121 K | December 19, 2007 4:36 AM | Report abuse

in my previous post: shootout should read SHUTOUT lol

Posted by: mauree | December 19, 2007 4:54 AM | Report abuse

btw check out the Leafs-Canes recap... what a game!

Posted by: mauree | December 19, 2007 6:08 AM | Report abuse

I don't agree that Olie should sit more - he was sitting more at the beginning of the season and he played worse. Sitting makes him rusty. He just needs to rest from time to time to play his best (perfect example - the last several games - he was playing well, had a bad game, sat for a game, and then had a good game).

I think the reason he said that it was a tie and not a loss is because THEY WENT HEAD TO HEAD WITH THE BEST AND WALKED AWAY WITH A POINT!!! I am sure he knows the difference (give the guy a little credit), I think he was just trying to recognize the efforts of his team - they deserve a tie for hangin' with the best.

Posted by: Boo! | December 19, 2007 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Kip-
Insomnia? Try some warm milk!!

Posted by: dave | December 19, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Why not sign Bryzgalov as a UFA? He will cost less than Kolzig's $5.5m.

The Caps are playing better. That means that more teams are going to take them seriously now. There will be more quality shots and chances against us, tighter defenses. That one 5 hole goal per game that Kolzig guarantees will cost us in the long run.

Posted by: Finn | December 19, 2007 8:15 AM | Report abuse

We do have a future goalie - Simeon Varlamov... he will be over next year.

Posted by: 828 | December 19, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

121K,
the home team gets to choose the order of shootouts. many teams have chosen to shoot second, like the caps. i suppose the logic is you have last at bats, similar to why the home team in baseball bats second. some, like detroit choose to shoot first, i assume so that they can put pressure on the other teams shooter.

seems like when the shootout first came around, all teams chose to shoot first. now it seems like many have chosen to shoot second.

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | December 19, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I am confused why that guy had stats about Olie in 1998 and present... or the video about Olie. I will admit, Olie does have his moments... but, we need a goalie that is on fire 95% of the time, not 60-80% of the time.

Posted by: Need a Sumo Wrestler in Net | December 19, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Following 828's comment:

So let me get this straight...next year we should finally have the offensive and defensive players with enough skill and experience to make a run to the playoffs, and we're going to put the team on the shoulders of either a rookie goalie with no NHL experience, or an aging goalie who's currently 31st in the league in GAA? Great planning there, gmgm.

Posted by: kenjabi | December 19, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2007 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Blast Olie all you want - the fact is the guy has carried the team for the past ten years. He deserves every freaking last cent of his contract regardless of how he's playing this season (which personally - I don't have a problem with).

The Caps were one of the lowest scoring teams in the league - maybe if someone other than OV could put a puck in the net earlier in the season, they'd have a few more W's.

Anyone who thinks Brent Johnson is superior to Olie - my message is: "start smoking the good crack".

Next step for Leonsis is to start the new GM search and get someone in here who can take the team to the next level.

PS - Wouldn't Andy McDonald have looked great in a Caps uniform? Probably could have got him for some picks.

Posted by: Finnegan | December 19, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Who is in goal for the Rangers? I guess he had an alright rookie season.

Posted by: 828 | December 19, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I think that Varlomov got hammered in the last world cup or similar international competition. In particular, the Canadian team ate him up. Is my memory correct?

Posted by: Clarendon | December 19, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Well, I don't know if we need a Sumo wrestler in net or not. lol

I was just looking at goalie salaries, and when looking at that to performance, Olie isn't cutting it. He's the 6th or 7th highest paid goalie in the NHL, but he isn't putting up 6th or 7th ranking numbers.

Granted, the D-men in front of him have, shall we say, "issues". So maybe if he was 15th or 16th in the league, I could accept that. But 33rd? No. He's not a good value from a purely business perspective.

From a humane perspective, loyalty perspective, you keep him. Just don't contract with him for more than a year or two at most, and for around $3 M. Find a "rental" goalie for next year until your prospects are developed, and move on from there.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 19, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

The entire Russian Junior team sucked big time. Not just Varlamov.

Posted by: Finn | December 19, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Rookie for the Canadiens, Price, is putting up better numbers that Olie:

Record of 9-6-2
GAA 2.72
Save % .915

@Greg S,
$3 million for Olie? Isn't that high for his production? Or are you talking $1.5 a year for two years?

Posted by: Steve R | December 19, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Steve R,

I agree, $1.5m per year max, if he wants to retire as a Cap. He know that he won't win the Cup here. The future for the Caps lies with a different goalie.

Posted by: Finn | December 19, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Lundqvist was 23/24 years old his rookie year. Varlamov turns 20 in April. Plus, Lundqvist fizzled a bit the end of his rookie year and had a horrible playoffs. I would've preferred our young goalie of the future to get those types of growing pains done BEFORE the rest of the team peaked, not during it.

BTW, I'm not picking a battle with you 828, so don't take it personal. Your comment just fueled my ire for gmgm's lack of preparation at goalie.

Posted by: kenjabi | December 19, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Tarik. I can't believe that Olie might play next year. I'm sort of stunned.

Posted by: old time hockey | December 19, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

@ Steve R.

There is more to this than simply production. Part of it it PR. As others have noted here, Olie is much loved in DC. That by itself has value and cannot be dismissed.

Posted by: Greg S. | December 19, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I think a pretty cool thing is that Caps fans seem to be more passionate and more numerous lately. You know what they say about "If one person says something there's at least ten more who don't" and yadda, so by that ire, at least 1600 people have thought sincere thoghts about this article, and I've venture a guess that number is a lot higher. Anywho, rough way of saying that Caps fans might be coming out of hiding.

Posted by: Whiter Mage | December 19, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Steve R -

You can't really hold Olie ALONE responsible for "his" record and GAA.

How many goals did WE not get, which contributed to that record?

How many shots were allowed to be fired on Olie for his GAA to get that high?

His saves % is to be commended! That % wins games against teams that our defense keeps from shooting on goal, and our offense scores against ...

Posted by: Boo! | December 19, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Kolzig: SV% .896; GAA 2.88; Shots against 712

Those who faced more shots but are ranked higher (in EVERY category)

Vokoun, Biron, DiPietro, Nabokov, Miller, Toskala, Ward, Luongo, Lundqvist.

Miikka Kiprusoff faced more shots, has a better GAA, but his SV% is a mere 0.001 worse than Kolzig's.

Posted by: Finn | December 19, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

old time, you shouldnt have been stunned, theres never been any mention here or elsewhere of Olie retiring after this season, or being traded for that matter. Actually, on the contrary, his probable resigning and future with the team beyond this year had been at least touched on as recently as the end of the summer on sites like this, if memory serves me right. I guess I just assumed the notion that Kolzig was most likely going to be in net next year was a fairly widely accepted fact among Caps fans. Not necessarily saying thats a good thing though.

Posted by: no more shootouts | December 19, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

My bad - I was looking at the wrong sv%. But he is 13th in the league for ahots against, for Pete's sake. And last season he was 18th for sv%. Given that and the horrible start that the ENTIRE team had, I think that Kolzig is doing OK. I would love to see his stats just since BB started - I bet they tell a different story than his stats for the entire season (just like a lot of the other guys!).

Posted by: Boo! | December 19, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

As of today Kolzig is ranked 13th in total shots against. Of the 12 goalies above him 8 play for a play off team (as of today's standings). Of the 8 "play off goalies", 5 play in the Eastern Conference.

There are goalies who face more shots than Kolzig. And they are taking their teams to play offs. How many of us can say that Kolzig can take the Caps to the play offs?

Posted by: Finn | December 19, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

@no more shootouts

Without going into too much detail, I've heard indirectly that Olie is getting pressure to retire from the home front and isn't willing to wait another 5 years for the team to be competitive.

Posted by: old time hockey | December 19, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

@ Greg S
You're absolutely right. PR is at the very epicenter of this whole Olie fiasco. Which is a perfect example of how misguided and inept the current management's entire concept has been for oh, so long. Sentiment doesn't win games. Neither does it guarantee sell - outs, or even mediocre attendance. What it insures is a piss poor team with equally sorry attendance figures. Surely, it shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

Posted by: Puckguru | December 19, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

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