Make us your home page

Kolzig stays classy



Goaltender Olaf Kolzig doesn't normally speak after the morning skate on days he is playing. But he made an exception Monday as Washington's media showed up in force at the verizon Center to mark Kolzig's return and game against the team for which he played for 16 seasons.

On tonight's game: "I haven't been this nervous before a game since my first NHL game. The butterflies started last night."

On the video tribute the Capitals have planned during the game: "I don't know what to expect. I really don't like getting attention like that during the course of a game. It's awkward. I'll have to keep my emotions in check."

On speaking to reporters before a game: "This is a different situation. Once I leave the building, it's business as usual."

On Caps star Alex Ovechkin saying the way to rattle Kolzig is to shoot near his head and get him mad, something Ovechkin apparently did purposefully to Kolzig during practices: "The difference is in practice when he went high, I couldn't take liberties on him when I was a teammate. Now, heads up."

Kind of makes you think back to the 2005-06 season, the first time Nikolai Khabibulin had a chance to play the Lightning at the St. Pete times Forum -- and bailed. The story was that Khabibulin and then Blackhawks coach Trent Yawney got together on the flight to Tampa and decided Nik wouldn't play. But there was Kolzig embracing the pressure and the attention.

Said Kolzig: "I definitely wanted to play."

Even when coach Barry Melrose gave him the option of opting out.

As Melrose said when asked how Kolzig will handle the emotions of the evening, "A guy like Olie, who played in the Stanley Cup finals, who played in the Olympics, played in the Worlds, Olie will be able to handle it. He's been through a lot. It will be an emotional time and I'm sure he will be thinking about it today, but all the things he's done and all the things he's been through, he'll handle it."

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:38pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours