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Kolzig talks retirement and about Johnson's injury

I just caught up with former Caps (and current Lightning) goalie Olie Kolzig, who is out for the season with a ruptured biceps tendon. As always, he had plenty of interesting things to say:

Q: So, is this it for you Olie?
A: "Right now it's season-ending. But in a way, it wouldn't be a bad thing if I called it a career. But at the same time I feel unfulfilled."

"If I do decide to play, I'll have a full eight months of getting back to 100-percent. We'll see. Once the season is over - I'm working out hard now - we'll see if I have that desire."

Q: What's this year been like for you? Disappointing?
A: "It's been a tough year. It's not what I planned or envisioned when I came down here. I'm sure a lot of my teammates feel the same way. There's been such a turnover - owners, 13 new players, the coaching staff. We just didn't come together quick enough. We're playing better now, but we obviously dug ourselves too a big hole to get out of."

Q: Your good friend Brent Johnson just had the same type of surgery on his hip that you had last offseason. Have you talked to him about it?
A: "I talked to Johnny because he wanted my opinion. It's an injury you think about. He was saying he had thoughts in games where if I guy went to his left side, he couldn't go. Because he had it in his head that he was injured there."

"I told him that he couldn't play that way and that he needed to get it taken care of. He's had a great last year and a half. Whatever happens, there's going to be interest [Johnson is a free agent at year's end]. He's proven that he can play still. The biggest thing is to get healthy and be 100 percent for training camp next year."

Q: From your experience, can Johnson realistically expect to come back this season?
A: "With the hip, I still had issues until I got hurt with the arm injury. It's a process, especially for a goalie."

"I don't think [he can return] because of what I experienced last year. But you never know. This team looks like it can go a long way, which will give him some time to come back. But realistically, I don't think so."

If Johnson is unable to return, you are expected to get an up-close look at one of the candidates to replace him. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Michal Neuvirth should get his first career start against the 'Bolts tonight. On a side note, Neuvirth has a new mask (painted in Hershey colors) with "Neuvy" emblazoned on the chin. But I'm hearing he probably won't wear it tonight because he has not had a chance to get used to it.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 14, 2009; 12:45 PM ET
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Next: Tonight's lineup


o-laf kol-zig

Posted by: richmondphil | February 14, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Hn. I still say that scratching Alzner in favor of the guy who takes more penalties 4-on-5 than any other D in the NHL probably isn't the greatest idea in the world unless you want the PK to get a thorough workout. (Sticktap to Japers' Rink for that little nugget.)

Posted by: kittypawz | February 14, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

hopefully it just means mo is being shopped.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 14, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

gonchar comes back tonight.

i love him.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 14, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

so i just checked nhl 09 and there was a roster update.

VARLAMOV is in it! and he has a picture already.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 14, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

so i just checked nhl 09 and there was a roster update.

VARLAMOV is in it! and he has a picture already.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 14, 2009 1:14 PM

Is kittypawz an option as GM?

Posted by: Leeguru | February 14, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

hmmm Alzner did one mistake, and not that big one at that either... I don't get this scratch. Unless it's to shop other players.

The most important question to Olie was if he had plans back with the Caps organization.

Posted by: mauree | February 14, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm an unrealistic fanboy here:

Get Kolzig from TB, put him in uniform and get his name on the cup this year. Let him retire with the caps and retire 37. Then we can put this whole bloody mess behind us, and things can be right with the world.

Posted by: mattbuckley80 | February 14, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Olie made a choice. No name on the cup for him.

Posted by: Steve_R | February 14, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Awh Steve ... be nice to Olie. :-( That was a very complicated, messed up situation (he didn't just make a rash decision). I'm with MB80 - Olie retiring here would have been "right", not that I think it will ever happen. (Boy, it's not easy being a sentimental fool! :-))

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 14, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm not happy with the defensive pairings for tonights game. I wouldn't have done it that way. I want to see juice and alzner playing together. I don't like it when they are apart. I also don't like sitting Alzner. I don't know why BB has done this. I wouldn't have. I also don't reccomend putting Ollie on the CUp when we win it.

Posted by: Leeguru | February 14, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Kolzig should have retired after last year.

Posted by: CapsNut | February 14, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't recommend putting Olie on the cup, either, it's just too bad that he was not here for one.

Posted by: --Boo-- | February 14, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse


Moved to this thread, yeah I was nervous when they put Varly in for his first career start in Montreal. I was nervous seeing his first start at home in person.

I'm not worried anymore. Speaking of who's in goal for us tonight, is Mike Smith even back yet for THEM? Even if Neuvy gives up 3 or 4 I somehow expect us to put up a 6 spot tonight. Don't ask me why, it's just a feeling.

Ovie with a hole in his stick? Since when? I personally think he'll notch a pair tonight after extending the shootout for us in NY the other day knowing it's something he's had trouble with in the past.

Calling a 6-3 win right now. The bandwagon is going to start moving fast when it leaves Florida Sunday night (speaking of which, what's with the 5pm start time tomorrow? they just trying to interrupt lunch and/or dinner plans?).

Don't confuse Neuvy with nervy. I'll call myself an overconfident fool if we lay an egg.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | February 14, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Makes sense to showcase Mo and Schultz and Kron against a bad team.

As for Kolzig, he was treated very well here. Played for the Caps 10 plus years, never traded, no massive salary issues, he was paid alot and supported well. But his family was never really 100percent into the area, at least that's what I saw since our daughters were in the same class and we lived close to another.

He'll retire as a Cap, and his number will hang from the rafters, as will 12.

Posted by: gtydings | February 14, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Alzner scratched - I dont get it?

Posted by: capsfansince74 | February 14, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I think it was pretty clear the way Olie cleaned out is things after the last play off game that he had no intention of coming back. Tarik stated much the same at the time.
He had his run at the cup, and in my opinion, he did not perform in the finals to at least make it respectful. How many went over his left shoulder that he was not obstructed on?
I hate to rag on him because I like and respect him and he played well at times to get us to the finals.
There is no rational reason to bring him back as a backup(he would not come back that way anyway), and that is all is worth is now.
Time to move on and look to the future guys.

Posted by: OldFan | February 14, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I wish I could say I feel sorry for Olie, but I dont. Olie dug his grave and now he's gotta lay in it. If he had put his ego aside, saw that Huet wasnt going to sign here, he couldve resigned here, and then he'd be with us. But instead, he whined and pouted about not being a starter, complained about the system, signed with a losing team, and now is saying "I didnt see this coming". give me a break. yeah Olies number will be retired here and i dont begrudge the team for doing it, but if he had handled the Huet situation a little better, things couldve been different for him.

Posted by: DER27 | February 14, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Ummm he's making $1.5 to sit around in Florida this year...not a bad move

Posted by: gtydings | February 14, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

I think some of the shots taken here at Olie are completely misguided. You would be bitter too knowing the organization you stuck around with through the lean years out of loyalty and class was basically setting the stage to put you out to pasture. I think if it had been handled a little differently he would've known it was coming and/or the right time to hang them up. It never did seem like they sat him down and told him what they were thinking was best for the team. He was a pro and didn't rock the boat until the season was over.

Throwing him under the boss claiming he didn't perform in the finals is garbage too. Olie game up 13 goals in 4 games, two of which were 2-1 losses. I'm not going to claim we were the better team, but that entire series would've been different had Essa Tikkanen scored in the 3rd period in Game 2. If you don't know the play I'm talking about, go check out a youtube vid of it. Seems like every year during the finals they do a segment on "Turning Points" in past Finals...I still remember watching it on TV and spilling my drink. Olie was the main reason we even got to the finals.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | February 14, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

ugh i just watched the esa tikkanen miss in game 2 and the re-occuring nightmares will start up again for me

Posted by: _stevo | February 14, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: richmondphil | February 14, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

You watchin that again, stevo? Watch for the last goal, when gonchar lost his man behind the net while Reekie had his man pinned to the boards over on the side. Gonchar was a playoff jinx.

Posted by: oo7 | February 14, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Yeah...just relived the horror of that missed net. Speaking of which, does Gary Thorne do hockey anymore? Guess with ESPN out of the loop he is too? Surprised NHL Network or VS haven't picked him up. Not a huge fan but he can call a decent game me thinks.

Posted by: ralCapsFan | February 14, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

The Essa Tikkanen play is my recurring nightmare symbolizing my lack of team championships I've gotten to celebrate since the Skins last Super Bowl win. I'm still convinced we would've won in 6 had he scored that goal.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | February 14, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Joe Juneau. A little sad he scored what is probably the biggest goal in team history but was one of the biggest disappointments overall, at least when you consider the numbers he had put up before coming to us. He also blew the penalty shot in the 2OT of the 4OT loss to the Pens when that gimpy wristshot by He Who Shall Not Be Named snuck through about 8 bodies.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | February 14, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

why do you keep bringing up bad memories? noticed i posted a clip of a positive, haha.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 14, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

What a dagger. I remember watching like 10 years vanish from his body on that play, beat Osgood like a rented mule...and then? Guhh! As soon as Detroit tied it the series was virtually over our boys were just in shock they had let it slip away.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | February 14, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't mean to they were just pivotal moments. I have faith our guys now will take a step further.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | February 14, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

i dont know if we wouldve won the series, but man....

Posted by: richmondphil | February 14, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Let's not get ahead of ourselves and talk about getting names on the Cup already. There's a lot of season left. As badly as I want Lord Stanley raised at center ice of the Verizon center, I'm suggesting we don't mention the C word until the Playoffs begin.

Posted by: Brobertson26 | February 14, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Olie pouted and left in a snit when he was faced with his skills no longer allowing him to be the starter. He was going to hold the team back. Just an opinion.

Posted by: Steve_R | February 14, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Never like to hear about major injuries to players. But, it was how Kolzig played that was why Huet was starting. So far as sticking around when the organization was bad, I don't feel all that sorry for him given the amount of money that he was being paid.

Posted by: NovaCath | February 14, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Why on earth would we want to bring back Kolzig, especially after his disgruntled, disgraceful exit? Someone should tell that prima donna that he wasn't performing and when that happens in professional sports, you get replaced. He began his career by replacing someone else who was past his prime. It's the circle of life in sports and he acted like a Class 1 a$$. I would never buy another ticket again if they brought his jacka$$ back.

Posted by: deann_r2002 | February 14, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of which, does Gary Thorne do hockey anymore?

I don't think so. In fact, I think I heard him last doing local baseball play by play (O's?)

Posted by: Section117 | February 14, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

@Leeguru: re me being GM, perish the thought :D I like our front office as it is, thanks much. How many other clubs in the NHL have a web producer who can sub as a goalie?

I don't think we're shopping Kronwall yet - it's his first game. How can we show others what he can do if we don't know ourselves? I think Poti's a good choice as pairing for him. I'm really not crazy about scratching Alzner, though. Maybe it's so he'll be fresh for Sunday. I still think BB is playing with fire with this D and G setup.

@Davethecapsfan: I dunno, I was less nervous with Varlamov in net. Not sure why. We'll see what happens.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 14, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

don't think we're shopping Kronwall yet - it's his first game. How can we show others what he can do if we don't know ourselves?

Posted by: kittypawz | February 14, 2009 4:59 PM

Wait! we are playing a guy and we don't know what he can do?
that doesn't seem smart. i don't like this...

Posted by: Leeguru | February 14, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I saw Thorne doing baseball play-by-play and yes, I would like to see him back in hockey.

As for Kolzig, come on. Starting goalie for the better part of a decade. Paid well, rarely challenged for a position, he had it made. A lot of you say he got us to the finals ... but does that mean we should keep playing him (or as some ask bring hime back) over 10 years later?! Come on. He's old, declining, and chose to go to semi-retirement in Florida. I'm sure his family is happier with the nicer weather (I'm in grad school down in Tampa now so I can relate). He's old news for the Caps as we've more than moved on.

I'll be rocking the original Caps jersey tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum, GO CAPS!

Posted by: vmidurk | February 14, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Let me point out I don't think we should bring Olie back, and I think it was better for the team he left after last season. I was just pointing out it could have been handled better by both parties, and he will always be one of the most important players in franchise history. He was the man for a long stretch of time here.

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | February 14, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

leeguru: Some gambles you have to take. Giving Kronwall a sweater is one of them - nothing ventured nothing gained and all that. Giving Mo a sweater ... now that's something else again. :)

Posted by: kittypawz | February 14, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

i like alzner...but Bruce knows what he's doing and you can believe he's playing to win in one of his wicked ways....gotta good coach, good team....let em play and see what happens the next two months.

Posted by: outrbnksm | February 14, 2009 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Ditto about the 5 p.m. start. Don't they have a 24 hour gap rule about game starts?

Was it Tikkanen who ended up on his butt in our goal?

Posted by: Bartolo1 | February 14, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Why is everybody so worried about the scratches? Back to back games with 8 defensemen on the roster. Save Alzner and Jurcina for tomorrow against a Florida team that has won four of five (loss to Caps).

Posted by: ouvan59 | February 14, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

I truly can't believe that any of you even remotely think that Kolzig does not deserve to be asked to return to Washington and given the opportunity to compete with this team, and for his name on the Stanley Cup. He gave so much to the Caps for years, and was instrumental when the Capitals (for the very first time) got to the Stanley Cup finals. He gave 100% to the Washington D.C. community, Caps fans and his teammates. He had a number of chances for years to leave the Capitals organization for a better opportunity and he stuck with the team instead, through thick and thin. I, for one, think he was treated badly last year and fully understand why he wanted to leave. We lost him for Huet? Huet could have cared less about the Caps and ran as fast as he could when the season ended. Anyone who thinks Kolzig doesn't deserve the utmost respect and consideration by the Capitals' organization has obviously just jumped on the Caps bandwagon and knows nothing about Kolzig's history with the team. Bring him back, let's retire #37, and give him the shot he deserves for all of the wonderful years he gave us.

Posted by: CapsEqualCup | February 15, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Hey Tarik-thanks for chatting it up with Zilla. God forbid his own team give updates! Hope he's doing well.

Posted by: SPKK | February 15, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes you need to know when to go and have an objective assessment of yourself. Kolzig should have retired as a Cap after last season. It was clear to everyone, but the biggest fan boys that he was done as an NHL goalie. Sadly, he has chosen to subject himself to an unfitting end to a great career.

Posted by: ranndino | February 15, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

@ CapsEqualCup

Olie is OUT FOR THE SEASON which makes your point moot.

Please stop living in a world of fairies and gnomes. No team would ever bring back a player who is injured for the rest of the season just to keep him on the roster and pay his salary. Also, for someone who has supposedly followed the team for a long time maybe you should read the NHL rule book. His name would not be on the Stanley Cup even if the Caps did what you're proposed. You have to play to get your name on it and like I said, not sure how you missed it, but he's OUT FOR THE SEASON.

Posted by: ranndino | February 15, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

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