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Heartbreak Of The Year

Two former starting goalies ride the pine down the stretch (for vastly different reasons) and don't get a minute of ice time in the playoffs. Their respective teams get bounced in the first round.

Here's one of the goalies' response:
"I don't take responsibility for the team losing in the playoffs, I'll tell you that much."
The other goalie handled the playoff exit by "remov[ing] his nameplate from his locker" and "declin[ing] to talk to reporters."

Frankly, I hate drawing this comparison here. For more than a decade, Olie Kolzig has been one of the NHL's most respectable players. From his on-ice achievements to his charitable work to his loyalty to the organization through its leanest years in three decades, he has almost always been the very personification of professionalism.

Clearly he felt wronged (perhaps justifiably) by the franchise when it went out and got another goaltender at this past trade deadline and turned the netminding duties over to the newcomer full-time in mid-March, especially when Kolzig had appeared to have salvaged a seemingly lost season - from February 2 through March 14, Kolzig was 7-3-2 with a 2.09 GAA and .923 save percentage.

But Kolzig's reaction last night was, to be blunt, immature and selfish. It distracted from the real story - the brilliant run his team had been on since Thanksgiving - and shifted the focus to his discontent, to his abandonment of and by the team.

Had he just walked out after hitting the showers, it would have been a non-story. But by his conduct - the simple act of removing his nameplate - Olie said with his actions, "I don't take responsibility for that team losing in the playoffs, I'll tell you that much."

And to me, that - and not the team's Game Seven overtime loss - is the biggest heartbreak of this whole wonderful season.