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Say It Ain't So, Olie

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"No, I don't," he said. "A lot of people do, but I don't. It's strange. My numbers aren't anything to write home about. But to me, the bottom line is the wins and losses. At one point, I was eight games under .500. I'm down to one game under .500. That means the most."

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Asked if he felt he would be moved at the trading deadline Feb. 26, "I don't know," he said. "I thought I'd be approached about a contract by now and that hasn't happened either. We'll just wait and see.

"Obviously, because I am unrestricted, being 37, they're not quite as worried I'm going somewhere. And they had to worry about Alex before anyone. Now, they're probably working on getting Greenie [Mike Green] signed. It might be a case where they don't have to worry about me until it's my time. I hope that's the case."

He makes $5.45 million this season, the last of a two-year extension. The thinking here is, the Caps would be interested in re-signing Kolzig for less money if he were willing to give up 30 or so games a year to another goalie such as Brent Johnson, who beat the Senators last night, 4-2.

"I've said I'd love to finish my career with the same team," he said. "Now that we've got a team that has the ability to be successful for a long time, I mean, it would be ironic all of a sudden if I go somewhere else right when the team is starting to peak."

It would be wrong. Kolzig has not just had to adjust to a new locker room of kids -- the Caps' best four players are now 23 or younger -- but he's had to adjust to a new coach who has certain ideas about what he wants from his goaltender.

"I had a great relationship with Glennie," Kolzig said of Glen Hanlon, whom Boudreau replaced in late November. "He finally had a team that he deserved. As players, we just couldn't get it done for him. Bringing Bruce in, half our team really responds to him because they played for him in Hershey, so I think that's been really positive.

But Kolzig added: "Bruce is not a goaltender guy. One thing about Bruce, he's hard on goalies because he doesn't understand the position. And a lot of coaches that haven't played the position are usually that way. You know: 'Just stop the puck and get it done. Doesn't matter how or what.' That's something I've got to get used to because I've had Glennie here for so long and obviously being a goaltender, he understands the situation and the position."

Of the hook on Sunday, he said: "I didn't think I should have been pulled. In that game I honestly didn't think I was playing poorly. All the goals were circumstantial. Two of them were behind me. Guys dug them out underneath me and put them in. One was redirected. The other one was a bad rebound off my pad.

"You want to battle through it, but it's demoralizing when you get pulled. Especially at home. But it wasn't my first, won't be my last. It's just something I'm not a big fan of."

They've got Alexander the Great, a coach who is essentially the Crash Davis of hockey and all these young bucks who fly around the ice at warp speed. The Caps are winning and playing with purpose and passion.

Here's hoping they keep Kolzig for two more seasons, that a piece of Washington sports memorabilia is treated with the respect and dignity he deserves for holding this franchise together through good and bad.


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