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Carey's Flaws Require Rapid Repair by Caps

By Fay, Dave | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 24, 1997 | Go to article overview

Carey's Flaws Require Rapid Repair by Caps


Fay, Dave, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Jim Carey's sophomore slump appears to be coming a season late. The timing of it is not what bothers the Washington Capitals, it's getting him through it that weighs on their mind.

On the other hand, Olie Kolzig, a backup goaltender throughout his up-and-down NHL career, starts tonight at home against Dallas, his seventh start in 12 games. He recently put together a 2-0-2 string, his best NHL run by far.

It is Kolzig who has the kind of numbers normally associated with Carey, a 2.47 goals-against average and a save percentage above .900. Carey's figures took a battering Wednesday night when he lasted just 12 minutes against the New York Rangers and departed on the bad side of a 3-0 score.

Kolzig came in and held New York scoreless until the last minute, when Brian Leetch eluded his coverage and beat the goalie.

Coach Jim Schoenfeld said it appeared Carey was having trouble with his footwork against New York. Carey agreed, sort of. What is apparent is that he is having trouble stopping pucks this season, more trouble than he has had at any time since he was called up in March 1995, barring the postseason.

This is not a problem that has developed overnight. Carey carried an injury-riddled team into the playoffs last spring, going 7-3-3 with five shutouts during March. But the best the 22-year-old could do in April was 3-3-0, and Pittsburgh torched him in the playoffs for the second straight season. He opened this season by going 1-4-0 and at another point had a five-game losing streak.

"You're right - it's a legitimate concern because you can't win without it [strong goaltending]," Schoenfeld said yesterday. "We're trying to do a lot of different things and that's all you can do."

Schoenfeld spoke in general terms about his goalies, not wanting to get specific about possible causes for the lack of success so as not to tip off opponents. But with scouts at nearly every game and most teams employing people just to pour over videotape and look for tendencies, there are few long-lasting secrets.

"It's something we have to keep in the house," is all he'd say when asked what the Caps are working on with Carey.

Unwittingly, Carey leaves himself open to criticism because of his style of play.

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