By Brian Tinsman

WASHINGTON — Perhaps more than any other position in sports, hockey goaltenders live or die with each passing moment. A flick of the wrist from an opposing player can send a puck rocketing by them at speeds approaching 110 mph, and almost no spot on the ice is safe from attack.

So it should be celebrated that Washington goalie Braden Holtby has now surpassed 20,000 minutes on the ice for the Capitals, as noted by the team’s public relations Twitter account on Tuesday night:

As the tweet suggests, the Caps haven’t been blessed with many consistent netminders over the course of franchise history, but the two that they have had were special.

Holtby is a two-time NHL All-Star and reigning William M. Jennings Trophy winner for the game’s best goaltender. But he has a long way to go to catch Kolzig, fondly known as Olie the Goalie.

Kolzig played 14 years in D.C. and finished with two All-Star appearances as well. But he casts a long shadow with fans, who remember him as a pillar in the community as much as he was a force in the net.

To put it in perspective, Kolzig’s minutes’ mark is not just impressive for the Caps; it is also 23rd all-time in the NHL.

Even if Holtby does hang around long enough to catch Kolzig in ice minutes, he still has a few other statistical areas to measure against the South African goaltender. These are the other franchise goalie marks that Kolzig still holds:

  • Most career games played (711);
  • Most career wins (301);
  • Most goals allowed (1,860);
  • Most career shutouts (35);
  • Most career points scored (17);
  • Most minutes played in a season (4,371 in 2000);
  • Most career playoffs shutouts (6).

Congratulations to Holtby on his milestone, and here’s to many more.


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