After considering retirement, Kolzig adjusting to hockey life with Lightning

October, 28, 2008
10/28/08
4:26
PM ET
We were catching up with Olaf Kolzig today after Tampa Bay's morning skate at Air Canada Centre when the veteran goalie surprised us while recounting his decision to leave the Capitals for the Lightning over the summer.

"I was actually leaning towards retirement," Kolzig, 38, told ESPN.com. "And as I got further and further removed from the season, I realized that I didn't want to end my career on a note like last year and felt that I still had a lot to give to the game."

Kolzig was stunned at last season's trade deadline when the Caps acquired goalie Cristobal Huet. The move effectively ended his days in Washington and, for a while, he thought, his career. But he changed his mind.

"I realized I could still play this position at a high level and help a team," Kolzig said. "Tampa was the first team to call and with all the changes they've made, having the first overall pick, I thought -- you know what, my family would love going down to Florida and I would be joining a competitive hockey team ... it was a good decision.

"And to be honest, staying in the Southeast Division had a little bit to do with it," he added with a wry smile. Circle those Caps-Lightning games!

Kolzig's photo on the official Lightning Web site still has him in a Caps uniform. It's the only jersey he had worn for 711 of his 713 regular season NHL games. He had always wanted to retire as a Cap, but he's adjusted to the new reality.

"I came to grips with it back in the summertime when I made my decision not to come back to Washington," he said. "It's been real good. Obviously, we'd want a few more wins in the win column, but it's still early. We're still trying to figure each other out."

Speaking of finding chemistry ...
The Tampa Bay Lightning have struggled out of the gates and captain Vincent Lecavalier figures it's about a bunch of new faces trying to find chemistry.

"Four, five new guys on a team is usually a lot," Lecavalier told a bunch of us Tuesday after the morning skate. "We have 16, 17 new guys. It takes a little bit of time to get used to and get to know everybody -- on the ice, their tendencies, etcetera. I've been playing with Marty St. Louis and Vinny Prospal 6-7 years. Now, we know each other, but it takes a bit when you first meet each other."

It'll come, said Kolzig, one of those many new faces.

"The thing is, we get along so well off the ice," Kolzig said. "Those 10 days in Prague really brought the team together off the ice. It's just a matter of time before that transcends itself on the ice. There's got to be a sense of urgency, but there's no reason for panic yet. We're only seven games in. We don't want it to snowball any further, but there's no reason for guys to squeeze their sticks and think this is the end of the world."

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