While most of Olie Kolzig’s conversation Thursday with reporters was focused on rookie goalie Braden Holtby, the associate goaltending coach addressed a couple questions on other matters, too.
Here some highlights:
*Asked whether the Capitals have become mentally tough in recent weeks, Kolzig said: “There’s no question. The guys have finally bought into Dale’s type of hockey. They’re realizing what he’s been trying to emphasize throughout the year is finally paying off now in the playoffs. This is why we played the way we did. It’s because of this type of hockey.”
Nine of the Caps’ 10 playoff games have been one-goal contests.
*Kolzig also said that the experience the Capitals gained from playing those tight games down the stretch gives them an edge.
“The adversity we faced this year, as opposed to the last two years where we basically solidified a playoff in January and kind of cruised into the playoffs, this year we had to scratch and claw,” he said. “Those teams that battle right to the end, if you can stay healthy and physically are there, you’re going to have that edge over teams that solidified two months in advance. That’s what we’re experiencing.”
“So I don’t think we’re going to be as down as maybe some other teams would be after a game like that last night,” he added.
*While Kolzig expressed his amazement with Holtby’s play, he also gushed about Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who has stopped 84 of the 89 shots he’s faced through three games.
“You look at him and you think he plays pretty deep; you should be able to pick a spot. But his angles are so good and he plays so wide, you’ve got to beat him with a good, high shot. You have to get traffic in front of him. Ovi’s goal in Game 2, he couldn’t see and picked it up late. Those are the ways you’re going to beat this guy.”
*Kolzig’s one criticism of Holtby was all of the routines the youngster must complete in order to get focused for games. You know, stuff like squirting water from a bottle and watching it fall onto the ice.
“One of the things we’ll address next year is the amount of stuff he requires – Holtbyisms, as you guys call it,” Kolzig said. “Maybe if we can cut those down a little. Eventually it’s going to wear on him and wear him out. But for right now it’s working, so don’t mess with it.”
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