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Why Kolzig Started Saturday Night

A goalie controversy is often a jackpot for hockey writers (case in point, this article from today's Calgary Herald), and the recent acquisition of Cristobal Huet has no doubt ignited one here in D.C. (if one didn't exist prior, which is debatable).

But while Olie Kolzig and Huet will battle for starts down the stretch, contrary to Scott Burnside's pot-stirring blurb at the bottom of his most recent column, Saturday night's decision to start Kolzig against Toronto made sense for a couple of reasons, including:
  1. Kolzig was brilliant in his previous start, a 4-1 win over Minnesota in which he stopped 34 shots on goal to finish February with a 4-2-2 record, 2.33 GAA and .922 save percentage - it was hardly a charity start for a slumping old man (those seem, thankfully, to have subsided).
  2. Saturday night was the second of back-to-back games and the second of three games in four nights for the Caps. Sure, Huet could have played all three games, but why? Have you seen the Caps' March schedule? And did you know that Huet missed 5 games earlier this season with a groin injury, 20 games last year with a hamstring injury, and 18 the season before with a knee injury? He's not exactly an ironman. Resting him on Saturday night was not only the right move because it was the second game in two nights, but also because Huet has dominated the Bruins this season (3-0-0/1.47/.943) and been lit up by the Leafs (0-1-1/3.43/.887), against whom Kolzig had given up four goals on 57 shots (a .930 SV%) in two games this season prior to Saturday. A well-rested Huet will face Boston tonight.
Look, search the internet and you'll find few harsher critics of Kolzig (and the way he's been used) this year than this blog. And there's unquestionably a three-way "issue" between the pipes in D.C. right now. But you don't need to stretch to find it. Bruce Boudreau isn't "trying to appease too many folks" - he's trying to make the playoffs by giving his team its best chance to win every night, and that's why Olie Kolzig played Saturday night.