Olaf Kolzig, or "Olie the Goalie," makes for an interesting discussion on whether he should be considered for the Hall of Fame. He spent 16 seasons with the Washington Capitals before finishing his career with a brief stint with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008-09. This is another case of longevity vs. success.
A Case For
If a Hall of Fame nomination were strictly based on longevity, then Kolzig would be a no-brainer. His 16 seasons with the Capitals are impressive. He was drafted in the first round (No. 19 overall) in 1989, and he ultimately played 711 career games in Washington and posted a 301-293-63-23 record, 2.70 goals-against average and .906 save percentage for the Capitals. After earning the starting job, Kolzig helped Washington reach the Stanley Cup finals in 1998. He posted a 33-18-10 record that season, but the Capitals finished third in the Atlantic Division. In the team’s run to the finals, Kolzig recorded a 1.95 GAA and a .941 SP before the Detroit Red Wings swept the Capitals to hoist the Cup. He battled inconsistency the following season, but he responded with another solid performance during the 1999-2000 season, winning the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best regular-season goaltender after posting a 41-20-11 record, 2.24 GAA and .917 save percentage in 73 games.
I believe that what a player does off the ice should impact the committee’s decision on inducting a player. Kolzig has said on numerous occasions that winning the King Clancy Award for leadership and humanitarian service in 2006 was one of the best moments of his career. He also represented Germany in the Winter Olympics in 1998 and 2006.
A Case Against
To win a Stanley Cup championship, a team needs a solid goaltender. The majority of all great Cup teams had a solid backstop between the pipes. There are examples of the “one-hit wonders” who helped their team to a title, but the great ones are at their best when it counts the most. Kolzig led the Capitals to the Stanley Cup finals in 1998, but the Red Wings swept Washington in four straight. Inconsistency during his career doesn’t help his cause either. For many years, he was a very good goaltender on mediocre teams.
Some people, mostly die-hard Capitals fans, believe Kolzig should be in the Hall of Fame, but one unsuccessful trip the Stanley Cup finals and one Vezina Trophy isn’t enough to get in.
ESPN Panel: Was not voted into the Hall.