- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 10, 2002

TAMPA, Fla. Washington Capitals goalie Olie Kolzig thinks he will be out at least 10 days with a sprained left knee, the result of stopping a Nashville onslaught with little help Friday night.
The injury comes at a fortunate time, with Washington about to start the two-week Olympic break. But the Caps did lose Kolzig for games last night and tomorrow night against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The injury is disappointing for the goalie, who wanted to play for Germany in the Salt Lake Games if the country survives the qualifying tournament and makes it into the medal round. Kolzig was born in South Africa, the son of German nationals, and carries a German passport.
Kolzig said last night that even with Germany's stunning 3-0 victory over Slovakia yesterday, it was "highly unlikely" he would recover in time to help out at the Games. The Germans still have to win games against Austria and Latvia to ensure they make the medal round.
"Because of the position I play and the force I put on my knees, I'm told it will take 10 to 14 days, maybe sooner, to settle down," Kolzig said. He was hurt 6:56 into the second period of an eventual 3-3 tie when he flopped back and forth while successfully stopping two drives by the Predators and landed awkwardly. He finished the period, but Craig Billington finished the game.
"It's sort of heartbreaking because you go four years virtually injury-free and now I have to miss games when the Caps are trying to get themselves back into playoff position. And then having the opportunity to represent Germany and be a part of all that, not being able to play is real disappointing," the goalie said. Kolzig played two games for Germany four years ago in the Nagano Games.
"The timing's perfect with the Olympic break," said coach Ron Wilson, undoubtedly wondering when the rash of injuries to key players would run its course. "There's almost three weeks between games. If you're going to get hurt, this is the best time to do it."
Washington called up Sebastien Charpentier from Portland, Maine, to back up Billington. Charpentier, drafted by the Caps in 1995 and a pro since 1998, was 12-11-8 with a 2.59 goals-against with the Pirates. He has never played in an NHL game.
Portland will use Corey Hirsch, who just came off the injured list with a shoulder separation, and Curtis Cruickshank in goal.
The Caps also recalled center Glen Metropolit for the second time this season. To make room, they placed right wing Stephen Peat (groin) on injured reserve.


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