Olie the Goalie Hangs 'Em Up

Kolzig is the greatest goalie in Caps history

By Chris Needham
|  Wednesday, Sep 23, 2009  |  Updated 2:01 PM EDT
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Olie the Goalie Hangs 'Em Up

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If he's lucky, Varly might be this good some day.

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The greatest goalie in Washington Capitals history has retired.  Farewell, Olie the Goalie.

He's hanging them up after 14 years in the NHL, all but one with the Caps.  He was the team's first-round pick in 1989.  He shot up quickly, playing two games in the '89-'90 season before bouncing up and down from the minors.

His big break came in 1997.  The Caps traded Jim Carey, the Net Detective, to the Bruins, freeing up the starting goalie spot for Godzilla.  It paid immediate dividends.

On the back of Olie the Goalie, the Caps stormed to the Stanley Cup Finals that next season, winning the Eastern Conference Championship. He cruised through the playoffs with a 1.95 GAA and an impressive four shutouts.

The Caps may not have won the Cup, but it was a successful season that D.C. fans will remember for a long time.

Kolzig won the Vezina Trophy as the league's best goaltender for his work in the '99-'00 season, when he won 41 games with a 2.24 GAA all while facing more pellets than any other 'tender in the league.

He finishes his career as the franchise leader in games (711) and wins (301).  Don Beaupre is second in wins, 173 behind.  Among Caps goalies with 100 starts, he's second in GAA to Carey.  He's clearly the best.

'Zilla didn't deliver the storybook finish Caps fans had hope for, but it doesn't diminish his accomplishments or what he's meant to the franchise.  He was instrumental in the team's resurgence in the late 1990s and he carried the team on his broad shoulders during the dark periods of the early 2000s.

It's sad that he's hanging them up, but it's likely that some night this winter, Caps fans will be able to welcome him home, as they raise his number to the rafters.

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