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Kolzig: NHL needs to avoid 'ugly' lockout


Kolzig: NHL needs to avoid 'ugly' lockout

With preliminary labor negotiations continuing this week in New York, former Capitals goalie Olie Kolzig is hoping the NHL and its players are smart enough not to make the same mistakes they made in 2004-05, when the entire season was lost in a labor dispute.

Nobody wants to see a lockout, especially with the momentum the NHL has gained over the last few years, Kolzig said during the Capitals development camp. But you understand why and its the not-so-fun part of sports.

I suspect both sides understand the NHL has grown so much the last few years and they dont want to slow any momentum down or give any kind of negative outlook toward the NHL. So theyll try their hardest to get it done.

Eight years ago, Kolzig said NHL Players made the tragic mistake of thinking they could bully the leagues 30 owners into sharing more of the leagues revenue and agreeing to a CBA without a salary cap. It was a gross miscalculation that cost players millions of dollars in salary.

That was awful, Kolzig recalled. I dont think our union was prepared for the tough stance of the owners. We were waiting to call their bluff and they didnt blink and we didnt really have a Plan B, and as a result we missed the whole season.

At the time of the lockout, Kolzig was at the apex of his earning power, making 6.25 million. He made another 17.34 million over the final four years of his career but pointed out others were not as fortunate.

Its money Ill never make back," he said. "That was the peak of my career and for a lot of other players it was the end of their careers. It was just an ugly situation that I dont think anybody wants to see happen again, no matter what sport it is.

Talks between the NHL Players Association and the NHL began on June 29 and will continue on Friday in New York.

Among the issues being discussed are:

Revenue sharing: The current CBA has 57 percent of the leagues revenues going to the players. The owners are looking to divide that revenue equally at 50 percent each. The owners also must decide how much relief small-market teams should receive from the leagues most profitable teams.

Salary cap floor: The salary cap is here to stay, but owners want to lower the salary cap floor below its current 54.2 million. The Capitals, by the way, are just 655,428 above the cap floor, according to

Long-term contracts: The owners want to protect themselves from giving contracts that exceed players ability to fulfill them. Case in point: Chris Pronger is 37 and has five more years and 19.25 million remaining on his deal. They also would like to see some kind of amnesty from overpriced contracts for underperforming players who are hidden in the minors for the length of their deals, such as Wade Redden.

Olympic participation: Most of the players want it, but Gary Bettman and many team owners do not, at least not when the Winter Games are being staged in Russia, as they are in 2014. Owners do not see the benefits of shutting down the league for two-plus weeks for TV coverage that is eight hours behind while running the risk of star players getting injured.

Kolzig seems less than certain an agreement will be made before the current deal expires on Sept. 15, which could mean condensed training camps and preseason schedules and a delayed start to the 2012-13 season.

But hes be surprised to see the same carnage as in 2004-05.

If for whatever reason it doesnt get done by September 15, Id assume it would get done in a short amount of time after that, Kolzig said. I dont think youre going to see what happened in 2004.

It wont be as biased as it was back in 2004. Both sides really are going to try to hammer something out.

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3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

3 reasons why the Caps lost to the Lightning

After a rough start, the Caps battled back to make a game of it against Tampa Bay, but ultimately fell 4-2 to the Lightning. Here's why.

The first period

To put it simply, this game was lost in the opening period. Washington was the better team for the second and third but they could not overcome the 3-0 lead they spotted the Lightning in the first. Beyond the goals, the Caps just did not play well. Even the simplest of plays looked difficult as Washington struggled to get the puck out of their own zone, gave up numerous turnovers and scoring chances and just looked overmatched. Braden Holtby also looked shaky allowing three goals on just eight shots. Usually he is able to cover up some of the mistakes the defense makes it front of him, but he was not there to bail the team out on Tuesday in what was a really rocky start.


Taking a penalty 34 seconds into the game

Entering Tuesday’s game, Tampa Bay boasted the second best power play unit in the league. Playing a disciplined game is part of every game plan, but that is especially true against such a dominant unit. Giving up a penalty just 34 seconds into the game was not an ideal start. The call itself was debatable. Brett Connolly was called for interference when he knocked over Dan Girardi in the offensive zone. The puck was just behind Girardi as he had lost control of it in his skates. The sticking point here is that Girardi no longer had possession and Connolly could have played the puck instead of the player. Most referees would probably let that go with the puck so close, but Connolly was not so lucky. Whether it was a good call or not, the Caps found themselves down a man and down a goal soon after as Brayden Point scored the power play tally.

A missed opportunity from Kuznetsov on one end, a goal for Nikita Kucherov on the other

Even after spotting the Lightning a 3-0 lead, the Caps made a game of it. Lars Eller struck on the power play in the second period and Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington to within one with about nine minutes left to play. Just over a minute later, Evgeny Kuznetsov stole the puck away from Nikita Kucherov, the frontrunner for league MVP this season, at the Tampa blue line giving the Caps a short 2-on-1. Defenseman Andrej Sustr was textbook on the play forcing Kuznetsov as far wide as he could go while still covering the passing lane and Kuznetsov elected to shoot from the faceoff dot rather than attempt the pass to T.J. Oshie.Andrei Vasilevskiy made a routine blocker save to deny what looked like a great opportunity to tie the game. As always happens in hockey, a failed opportunity on one end led to an opportunity in the other direction. Less than a minute later, Kucherov made up for his mistake by scoring a breakaway goal to put the game out of reach at 4-2.


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3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

The first 20 minutes of Tuesday's game did not go well for Washington. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three times in the opening frame and rode that lead all the way to the 4-2 win.

With the game heading towards a repeat of their blowout loss to Chicago, the Capitals rebounded in the second period to make a game of it as Lars Eller scored on a power play. Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington within one in the third period, but Nikita Kucherov slammed the door shut with a breakaway goal to extend the lead back to 2.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Brayden Point: Tampa Bay won this game in the first period when they took a 3-0 lead. Point scored two of those three goals. His first came only 2:30 into the game. He retreated to the blue line on the power play believing Jay Beagle would clear the puck. When Beagle turned the puck over, he recognized it and immediately crashed the net, taking a Ryan Callahan pass in the slot and shooting it through the five-hole of Braden Holtby.

On his second goal, Anton Stralman saw an opportunity on the Caps’ line change and passed the puck up to Point at the blue line. Point turned on the jets to get behind the defense and went five-hole again on Holtby to make the score 3-0.

2. Alex Ovechkin: After the first period, Washington slowly took this game over for much of the remaining 40 minutes. Ovechkin was a big part of that as he totaled an incredible 19 shot attempts for the game. Nine of those shots were on goal and he found the back of the net in the third period for career goal No. 594.

3. Tom Wilson: Through the first period, the Caps looked well on their way to a repeat of the 7-1 debacle they suffered Saturday in Chicago. They had nothing going in this game until Wilson drew a trip from Vladislav Namestnikov in the second period. Eller would score on the resulting power play giving Washington some much-needed life.

The Namestnikov penalty was the 29th drawn penalty of the season for Wilson, which moves him into a tie with Matthew Tkachuk for the most drawn penalties in the NHL.