- The Washington Times - Friday, June 16, 2000

Dominik Hasek's injury-shortened 1999-2000 season opened the door for another goalie to be named the NHL's best. And Olie Kolzig of the Washington Capitals took advantage of the opportunity, winning the Vezina Trophy as the league's top goalie Thursday night in Toronto.
"I want to thank Dominik for giving the rest of us a chance to win this," Kolzig said of the Buffalo superstar, who had won the Vezina in six of the previous seven years. "You're only as good as the guys in front of you, and I was fortunate to work behind a great group of guys who worked their butts off."
In his third year as the Caps' No. 1 goalie, Kolzig ranked third in the NHL with 41 victories and fourth with five shutouts while posting a 2.24 goals-against average as Washington allowed a franchise-low 194 goals.
Washington's top pick in the 1989 draft, Kolzig played nearly as many games in the low minors (35) as in the NHL (42) over the next seven seasons. That seventh year, 1996, Washington's Jim Carey became the other goalie to interrupt Hasek's streak. But Carey was traded to Boston the following March, and Kolzig claimed the starting job in the fall of 1997 after veteran Bill Ranford was hurt.
"This shows what a little perseverance, a lot of hard work and never doubting yourself can do," said Kolzig, 30. "It hasn't really sunk in yet. People who know me well know I don't let success go to my head. I've got to be even better next year, which means having the kind of success in the playoffs that we did two years ago."
Kolzig led the surprising Caps to the Stanley Cup finals in 1998, but Washington didn't make the playoffs the following year and was upset by Pittsburgh in the first round this spring.
Kolzig's coach, Ron Wilson, was beaten out by St. Louis' Joel Quennville as the winner of the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL's top coach. Bryan Murray in 1984 is the only Caps coach to have won the Adams. The trophy has special meaning for Wilson because his father and uncle played for Adams' Detroit Red Wings in the 1950s.
"I really thought Wils had a chance considering our second half," Kolzig said of Southeast Division champion Washington's NHL-best 31-10-6 record from Jan. 1 through the end of the season.
Earlier in the day, Denis Savard and Joe Mullen, who combined to score 975 goals, were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Mullen was the first American to score 500 goals and 1,000 points. Walter Bush, the president of USA Hockey, which governs amateur hockey in this country, was also elected.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide