Goaltender Olaf Kolzig will represent the Washington Capitals at the NHL All-Star Game Feb. 6 in Toronto. Kolzig, who also played in the 1998 event, is the first Capitals goalie to participate in two all-star games.
Kolzig, who was born in South Africa, will play for the World All-Stars. The game has featured a team of North American All-Stars against World All-Stars since 1998.
"It's an honor well deserved," Capitals Coach Ron Wilson said.
Kolzig was elected to the team by the NHL's Hockey Operations Department in consultation with general managers. Fan balloting determined the starters. Dominik Hasek of the Buffalo Sabres was voted the starting goalie but has missed the entire season with a groin injury and likely will be replaced by Roman Turek of the St. Louis Blues.
Kolzig entered tonight's game against the Atlanta Thrashers with a 12-14-7 record and 2.55 goals-against average, but those numbers were hurt by the team's poor play in October. Kolzig is 10-9-5 with a 2.20 GAA in 25 appearances since Nov. 3.
"In a lot of people's eyes last year was a regression rather than a progression," Kolzig said. "And I just wanted to prove I can rebound from last year and this is obviously totally by surprise for me. There's a lot of good goalies out there and I've been playing well enough to maybe warrant it, but not in the company I'm dealing with. It's a great honor, obviously, and I'll try to represent the team well when I'm there."
The Capitals have only one player among the league leaders--center Adam Oates is in the top 15 in assists--and are one of the lowest-scoring teams in the league. Few players are having standout seasons. Leading scorer Peter Bondra had played in the last four all-star games and five of the last six, but has missed 11 games with injuries this season and will not return from his latest knee injury until next week at the earliest. He has 13 goals--tied for the lowest total to lead any NHL team--and has not scored since Nov. 27.
The North American reserves will be announced Thursday.