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An Open Letter to Olie Kolzig April 22, 2008

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

Mr. Kolzig:

It’s been reported that you took your nameplate down from the locker room at Verizon Center following the Caps’ heartbreaking Game 7 loss Tuesday night. As bad as it felt to lose Game 7 in overtime, this makes me feel even worse.

I’m a recent Caps fan–post-lockout–but I vaguely remember your Stanley Cup Finals appearance back in 1998. I had hoped to see you back in net for the Caps in another Stanley Cup Final. It seems, by all accounts, that you have other plans.

I know that you felt insulted when Huet was picked up at the deadline. I know it’s no fun to go from full-time starter to full-time DNP, and then to be forced to watch from the bench as your team loses in the playoffs. I’ve never played hockey, so I’m not going to be trite and say I know how you feel. Because I don’t. I have no experiences in my life that I can compare this to. But I don’t have to have experience to say I can tell it hurts you on a very fundamental level. So while I can’t personally relate to what you’re feeling right now, I know it’s not pleasant.

Olie, you’ve given your heart and soul to this team for a very long time. After over 40,000 minutes in the paint, 20,000-plus shots faced, 301 wins, a King Clancy, and a Vezina, you have every right to be angry at being benched down the stretch, and never taking the ice for the Caps’ first playoff series in half a decade. You played through some very lean years here the past few seasons, and suddenly, you were relegated to backup status just as the team began to see success. You have every right to be angry at how things have turned out this year.

But let me run a name past you: Steve Janaszak. Janaszak, you’ll recall, was the backup goaltender for the 1980 US Olympic hockey team. He was 9-5-1 with Team USA in the months leading up to the Olympics, but he sat on the bench the whole time at Lake Placid. Yet, he still got a gold medal, one that probably shines just as brightly as Jim Craig’s.

Olie, for all the years you’ve given this team, for all the patience you have shown, and for all the lean years you’ve faced recently, I would be heartbroken for you if the Caps raised the Stanley Cup next year, and you weren’t there among them. I want to see you win a Stanely Cup, and I want to see you win it as a member of the Washington Capitals. You can see it firsthand: this is a team on the rise. A year, maybe two, three at most, and I believe the Stanley Cup will be all filled up for the Caps to take a drink.

Olie, you can call me sentimental if you want, but I’d really like to see #37 on the Cup that year, not looking down from the Verizon Center rafters. I’d like to see you leave the Capitals as a Stanley Cup champion.

But if that’s not what you want, then one fan isn’t going to convince you otherwise. And if this really is the end of your tenure with the Capitals, I’m sorry to see it end this way. Whatever road you take from here, Olie, I wish you the best. May God and His angels watch over you, and bring you comfort, love, and peace, now, and for all time. It’s been a privilege to watch you play. Wherever life takes you, may you be blessed. I remain,

Yours in Spirit,
Capital Spirit



1. Phae - April 23, 2008

We love you, Olie.

2. Mike - April 23, 2008

My hockey sweater (the black Caps third jersey) has #37 and Kolzig on the back, and I proudly wear it!

Great post — Olie, I hope that the team and you can work out something that will keep you a member of the Washington Capitals.

3. Jenn - April 23, 2008

No matter what happened last night…you were out there the entire game. The entire team knows you were out there, the fans know you were out there, and you should be at peace with that fact. I went to practice on Sunday and watched as you trained those boys to fight…do not go quietly Olie…you fight!

4. Tony - April 24, 2008

DC for Olie!!!

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