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Masked men

21

August

Smitty So what will the well-dressed goaltender be wearing on his head next season? If you are Lightning No. 1 Mike Smith and backup Olaf Kolzig (that's how the season is supposed to start, anyway), the art on one's mask reflects some personal roots. For Smith, his love of fishing cultivated by his father, Ron, back in Kingston, Ontario. For Kolzig, the Godzilla nickname he got in 1993 while playing for AHL Rochester.

First to Smith, who said the biggest fish he ever caught was a 150-pound tarpon off Boca Grande after last season. Ron beat him with a 155-pounder.

Smith, who after being acquired from the Stars in the Brad Richards deal, had a mask (shown here)quickly made with a big lightning bolt across the top. He said next season's will have fish scales as the design base. It will have a fishing pier, "And, obviously, lots of lightning and stuff like that."

Smith said he truly likes the sport to which Ron introduced him. Back home, they fished for pickerel and bass.

"It's a nice way to get out with your dad and your brother and friends of the family and enjoy it on the water and drop a line in," Smith said. "I love fish to eat, too. So usually in the summer, we'll go early in the morning on a Saturday and try to catch some lunch."

Smith said if you catch it, you have to clean it. "I get dirty. It gets bloody. My dad doesn't clean too many because I'm the one catching them all."

Kolzig said his mask will stick to the basic theme that carried him through his years with the Capitals. He will have "Zilla" written across the lower extension and Godzilla, the fictional, prehistoric, fire-breathing dragon will be on top, snorting flames. Other than that, a couple of swaying palm trees and some lightning bolts.

Kolzig said the first time he had the animal drawn on a mask, "It ended up looking like Barney. Now we've got it right."

He said his Godzilla nickname dates to his minor league playing days in Rochester.

"I still had a bit of a temper and I played with a lot more fire back then," he said. "I was a big guy and playing well. I came to the rink one day, and somebody had a sign up that said, 'Nobody beats Godzilla.' It just kind of stuck with me ever since."

No pictures yet as the masks, both goalies said, are still being painted.

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

    

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