Nothing worse for a goalie than sitting the bench when the games mean the most. Olaf Kolzig was been the main man in net for the Washington Capitals since the 1997-98 season. For many seasons was the only Capital considered a professional hockey player (they were that bad).
Now Kolzig has to watch from the bench as his Capitals enter the playoffs for the first time since 2003 because the Capitals have a better chance to win with Christbol Huet in net.
Is Kolzig moping around the locker room feeling sorry for himself?
Is he putting himself above the needs of the team?
No, he is consummate professional and understands professional hockey is a game about winning. So, instead of becoming a distraction in the locker room by worrying about his playing time, he is cheering his teammates on while making sure he will be ready (physically and mentally) if he does get a chance.
As a goalie there will be times when you are not in net for the big games. Can you be disappointed? Of course… it’s only normal.
Is Kolzig disappointed? Known as being fiercely competitive, I’m sure he is. It is probably killing him sitting the bench (as it should).
But… what matters is how you handle it. Hockey is a team game and NO INDIVIDUAL IS ABOVE ANY TEAM. If you are sitting for the big games, remember Kozig’s situation, work hard in practices, cheer-on your teammates, and make sure you are physically and mentally prepared because you will eventually get a chance and will need to perform your best for the team.
If you don’t, the other goalie will…