Ales Kotalik #12 of the Buffalo Sabres can't get to the puck after a save by Olie Kolzig #37 of the Washington Capitals on March 5, 2008 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York.
(March 5, 2008 - Source: Rick Stewart/Getty Images North America)

Capitals appoint Olie Kolzig as goaltender coach


The Washington Capitals’ young goaltending duo has 719 games worth of NHL experience to lean on after the team announced that Olie Kolzig will assume the role of goaltending coach.

In addition to his long playing career as a netminder, Kolzig spent the last two seasons getting ready for this job as Washington’s associate goaltending coach.

“It helps a lot,” said Capitals GM George McPhee. “There’s no learning curve involved. He knows these players very well. He has worked with them at the NHL level and at the American league level. He won’t change their game very much at all; a couple of tweaks here and there, minor adjustments.”

Kolzig should also feel comfortable working with fellow Capitals coaches Adam Oates and Calle Johansson as the trio played together in the NHL for five campaigns.

Goaltenders Michal Neuvirth, 25, and Braden Holtby, 23, already have enjoyed a degree of success at the NHL level, but this is an important season for both of them. They each have the talent to become starters, but neither has played in more than 48 contests in a single NHL campaign and they will be competing fiercely for playing time.

Both are signed through 2014-15 and by the end of those contracts, it’s entirely possible that one will have firmly cemented himself as the team’s number one goaltender.

Scott Murray, who previously served on OHL Sudbury’s coaching staff, will take over as Washington’s associate goaltending coach.

Video: Eichel’s first career NHL goal

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Didn’t take long for Jack Eichel to make his mark at the NHL level.

The No. 2 overall pick at this year’s draft scored his first-ever NHL goal in his first-ever NHL game on Thursday night, cutting Ottawa’s lead to 2-1 in the third period of Buffalo’s season-opener.

Marcus Foligno and another new Sabre, Evander Kane, registered the assists on Eichel’s marker, which came on the power play.


Tough start: Lehner knocked out of Sabres debut, won’t return

Matt Puempel, Alex Chiasson, Robin Lehner
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Chances are Robin Lehner won’t look back fondly on his first game as a Sabre.

Midway through Buffalo’s season-opener against Ottawa, Lehner — facing his old team for the first time since getting traded this summer — suffered a lower-body injury, and was forced from the contest.

During the second intermission, the Sabres ruled out Lehner for the night.

It was a difficult turn of events for 24-year-old, who admitted he was keen to go up against the Sens. He had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about his time in the Canadian capital; Lehner felt he never got a full opportunity to run with the No. 1 gig, and probably wasn’t thrilled GM Bryan Murray opted to keep Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond instead of him.

As for tonight’s injury, details are scarce. All that’s known is the ailment was serious enough for Lehner to leave and not return, forcing backup Chad Johnson into duty.

Prior to getting hurt, Lehner had stopped 11 of 12 shots faced.