The Washington Capitals' goaltending situation seems to have settled into what they had planned on in training camp, with Don Beaupre and Rick Tabaracci sharing the load.
But appearances can be deceiving. After rookie goalie Olie Kolzig skated for the first time yesterday since injuring his kneecap Oct. 13 in Toronto, Capitals coach Terry Murray said a future assignment in Portland is not automatic.
"I haven't talked to David [general manager David Poile] about that yet, but if he comes around fast, maybe I'll get him into a game here right away," Murray said. "I wouldn't like all three goalies here all year, but Olie impressed me with his play early in the season, and he's going to stay in the picture."
Kolzig earned the backup goalie position at the start of this season,after Tabaracci injured his knee in training camp. He played in two games, going 0-2 with a 4.46 goals-against average.
When Kolzig got hurt, Byron Dafoe filled in. He was 0-1 with a 3.00 GAA. Both rookies played during the Capitals' six-game losing streak, when no one played well.
Dafoe has returned to Portland, where he is likely to spend the season.
Kolzig skated without equipment yesterday and had no pain or swelling in his knee. He will be checked by team doctors again Friday. Murray estimates it will take about two weeks to get Kolzig in game shape.
"Olie is a young guy with a lot of potential, and I'm not going to say he's going to Portland for the rest of the year," Murray said. "We have four guys who are in the picture and the young guys, Byron Dafoe and Olie Kolzig, are coming along."
NOTES: D Al Iafrate did not skate yesterday. Murray said Iafrate could use an extra day to rest aching shoulders and knees. . . . Rookie F Pat Peake, who sat out Washington's last game in San Jose with a severe charley horse and soreness in the ankle he broke last spring, saw team doctors yesterday and learned there were no complications. Instead of a magnetic resonance imaging exam, Peake was given a cortisone shot and sent home. . . . Tabaracci, Alan May and Iafrate were to storm radio station WTEM today and refuse to leave until the station agrees to do a hockey talk show. Psst -- it's a stunt. The station will broadcast from Piney Orchard Ice Rink every Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon.