Goaltenders are evaluated by a host of statistical comparisons, but one resonates loudest for Olaf Kolzig, the Washington Capitals' star keeper. Kolzig is most concerned with wins and losses, and he entered last night's game against Toronto one victory shy of 200, a modest plateau but one that did not seem possible early in Kolzig's career.
"As a goalie you always get judged on wins and losses," Kolzig said. "And especially with the way my career started out I was really behind the eight ball in the wins department. And to put yourself in the position to get 200 wins over your career is great, and obviously I've got a few years left to add to that. But wins are a byproduct of how the team is playing as well, and I've been fortunate to play with a good bunch of guys over my years and it's a nice milestone, that's for sure."
Kolzig, 32, spent parts of six seasons in the minors, was an understudy for a succession of goalies in Washington and at one point his career record stood 22 games under .500. Since then he has been named an all-star, won a Vezina Trophy as the NHL's premier goalie in 2000 and established virtually every goaltending record in franchise history.
Kolzig has a 199-173-51 career record after last night's loss to Toronto. He had not lost in regulation time since Dec. 1.
Bruce Cassidy will coach his first game in Ottawa tonight, where he was born and raised. Most of Cassidy's family remains there and he is excited about the homecoming.
"I think once the puck drops and I'm standing behind the bench there will be a moment of sort of, 'Geez, you know I've come a long way from being an 8-year-old kid growing up in the west end of Ottawa,' " Cassidy said. "But once the game starts you don't have a lot of time for that nostalgia." . . .
The Capitals, who have long struggled with Ottawa's talented group of forwards, will be playing their third game in four nights and are playing backup goalie Sebastien Charpentier. Ottawa goalie Patrick Lalime could tie a modern-era NHL record by posting his fourth straight shutout tonight, and the Senators lead the NHL in points. . . .
Cassidy scratched forwards Josh Green and Ivan Ciernik last night. Ciernik is likely headed to the minors this weekend if recently acquired defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski clears immigration and joins the team as expected.