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Kolzig Beliefs In Germany Tonight

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs

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Olaf Kolzig believes it: Germany can beat Team Canada in tonight’s Olympic confrontation in Vancouver.

Kolzig, a veteran of 15 NHL seasons is living near Tampa Bay. He and his wife will soon move their children to Washington, where the man nicknamed Ollie the Goalie enjoyed his greatest seasons. In 1998 he carried a Ron Wilson-coached team to the Stanley Cup finals.
Jochen Hecht is one of six NHLers on the German team.

Germany plays Canada tonight at 7:30 and Kolzig, officially retired, is finally out of the action. Kolzig’s parents were German born. Even though he grew up in Mississauga, he was eligible to play for Team Germany at two Olympics.

While the Germans have yet to win in Vancouver, Kolzig pointed out the Germans had a legitimate NHL goalie in San Jose Sharks’ backup Thomas Greiss. Greiss has played 12 games this season and has accrued a flashy .920 save percentage.

“Goaltenders have more of a say in the outcome of a game than any player in any sport,” Kolzig said. “One player can win a game and Thomas has the experience. He played against Canadian players in Turin.”

Six other NHLers will don the colours for Germany tonight including Boston’s Marco Sturm, Christian Ehrhoff of Vancouver, Nashville’s Marcel Goc and Alexander Sulzer, Buffalo’s Jochen Hecht and Dennis Seidenberg of the Florida Panthers.

“There is no pressure on the German team,” Kolzig said. “That said, it would take a bigger miracle than The Miracle On Ice for Germany to win. They have to play stifling defence and rely on goaltending because Canada is going to get a lot of shots.

“I think Canada has to stay out of penalty trouble because if you give some of the German players time and space, they are going to hurt you.”

Kolzig, of course, retired a Leaf, even if it was via technicality.

The deadline day trade brought Kolzig’s contract to Toronto from Tampa amounted to a paper shuffle. Kolzig came north for a physical but never slipped his arm inside a sweater.

Kolzig grew up a fan of Leaf stars Darryl Sittler and Borje Salming. “It would have been great to pull on that sweater and play for the Leafs, even for one game,” he said. “I got to see the inside of the Leafs’room. That’s as close as I got.”
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