February 15, 2004.
3 years, 1 month, and 3 days ago.
The time that has elapsed since Olie Kolzig's last shutout can be measured in far more than time. Players have come and gone - 17 players are no longer on the Caps roster, including 10 of the 11 point getters in the 4-0 victory over Chicago (Matt Pettinger had a goal...his 4th of the season). The lockout has changed the way the game has played and the combined age of the defensive corps here in DC is less than Chris Chelios' actual age. It's not that surprising that it has taken that long, given the circumstances. What is surprising is that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
When the Caps beat Chicago back in 2004 they were sitting in 14th place, on the outside looking in after trading away some veteran players (although more would follow). Today they sit in 14th place, on the outside looking in after trading away some veteran players (although the future looks considerably brighter).
Oh, and the goalie in net for the 'Hawks that night all those years ago? Craig Anderson. That would be the same Craig Anderson who allowed just the one Ovechkin tally last night en route to Kolzig's 34th career shutout.
I missed the game last night but recorded it and watched it around midnight, and I'm glad I did. It wasn't a particularly pretty game, and it certainly wasn't a meaningful game. In fact, I admittedly watched most of it on fast-forward. But I got to see Ovechkin's beautiful goal off an equally beautiful pass from Brooks Laich...and I got to see Olie finally get rewarded for all his hard work all season long, and for all his hard work since February 15, 2004.
In the post-game interviews Olie said in his usual, humble way that getting the win was the most important thing and the shutout was just a bonus. I think I can speak for many Caps fans who have suffered through this season that the win in this case, while nice, was not the highlight. The highlight for us was seeing the big man get his just desserts. Everything else is just icing.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
February 15, 2004.