Win or lose, Kolzig is Caps' MVP
Posted: Monday June 15, 1998 10:29 PM
Hard luck Olie: Kolzig has stopped 116 of Detroit's 125 shots in the series, but is down 3 games to 0 ()|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The most valuable player award in the Stanley Cup
finals will likely go to a member of the winning team. The Washington Capitals
already know who their MVP is.
Kolzig was often spectacular in goal while winning in the earlier
rounds and has remained the same even while losing the first three games of
the finals to the Detroit
"I think Olie has been great," Capitals coach Ron Wilson said Monday.
"The goals [the Detroit Red Wings have] scored, they've earned them. He
hasn't let any soft goals in. It's so easy to say the goalie should be
stopping everything, but if that happened, all the games would be 0-0."
The Capitals have been outshot by a wide margin in the finals (125-68),
yet have lost the three games by a total of three goals.
"He's lost three games by one goal," Wilson said. "And under no
circumstances could you say in any way that it was Olie's fault."
Kolzig's performance in the finals reached its peak with a 55-save effort
in a 5-4 overtime loss in Game 2 at Detroit. The Capitals were outshot
"I don't think he's feeling the pressure," Wilson said. "He hasn't lost
his temper. I think he's enjoyed this."
Win or lose throughout the playoffs, Kolzig has been even-tempered. One
league official called him "gold -- he's just a great person."
After losing a tough one Saturday night, by a 2-1 score on a late goal by
Kolzig came out to talk to the press as usual and stayed until the last
question was asked, as usual. He shrugged off the loss philosophically.
"[One-goal losses] just show our team has a chance to win every game," he
Coming into the finals, Kolzig had put on one of the greatest goaltending
performances in playoff history with four shutouts and a 1.69 goals-against
average. Overall, he has now stopped 662 of 702 shots in 20 games -- by far
the most shots faced by any goalie in the playoffs.
Nicknamed "Godzilla" for his 6-foot-3, 225-pound size, the Johannesburg,
South Africa-born Kolzig was the MVP of the AHL playoffs in 1994 while
leading Portland to the league championship. He was expected to be a backup
to Bill Ranford
this year, but got his chance when the Capitals' No. 1 goaltender was
injured. Kolzig wound up playing in 64 games this season, finishing with a
33-18-10 record and 2.20 goals-against average.
So far he is 12-8 in the playoffs with an 1.86 goals-against. The
Capitals' season will hinge largely on what Kolzig does in Tuesday night's
Game 4. His team is one game away from losing the finals.
"We can't look at [the series] like we have to win four straight," Kolzig
said. "We have to relax and try to win, and then see what happens."
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