WASHINGTON -- Olaf Kolzig almost wore a Senators' uniform.
Kolzig confirmed yesterday he thought he was going to be dealt to the Senators at the March 9, 2004 trade deadline, a move Ottawa fans likely wish GM John Muckler had made after Patrick Lalime failed in the ensuing playoffs.
But Muckler, who wanted Kolzig in a package with defenceman Brendan Witt, believed the asking price from Capitals GM George McPhee was too high and refused to give up standout blueliner Anton Volchenkov.
"I really thought I was going to Ottawa, but they couldn't get the deal done," said Kolzig. "George McPhee has always been fair to me and he was keeping me updated throughout those discussions on what might happen. That was kind of a weird time for me because I had never been involved in anything like that before."
The 35-year-old Kolzig can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, but he would be content to finish his career with the Capitals. However, he would like to see a commitment from the organization towards building a team that has a shot at winning a Stanley Cup.
Kolzig hasn't had a chance to sit down with McPhee, but they will meet before this year's trade deadline.
There has been a lot of talk Kolzig could be headed to one of eight clubs before the playoffs, but Colorado, Vancouver and Edmonton are the teams most often mentioned.
"I would like the chance to win the Stanley Cup before I finish my career," he said. "Now there are no guarantees if I go somewhere else that I'm going to win a Stanley Cup, either. I'd like to have that opportunity here.
"What I would like to see is a commitment from the organization this year that they're going to add the pieces to the puzzle to make that happen here. I started my career here and I'd be quite happy to finish my career here. To be part of something that is building would be very exciting."
COUGHING UP THE PUCK: Senators C Jason Spezza, troubled by his chest problem, missed his sixth game of the season last night against the Caps. "I've told Jason that there's no sense him returning to the lineup until he's ready to do everything," said coach Bryan Murray. "You don't want him out there if you feel he can do some things and he's unable to do others. He's only going to aggravate it by being out there, so we're not going to bring him back until he tells me that he's 100%." Spezza's absence meant centre Steve Martins was recalled from AHL Binghamton for the first time. "Throughout my career, I was never known as a negative and I find that every time I work hard good things happen for me. This is one other example," said Martins, a Gatineau native.
RAVES FOR OVECHKIN: The Senators got their first look at Capitals rookie Alexander Ovechkin, who is turning heads around the NHL especially among his teammates. "If you look at what Ovechkin has done for this team -- and no offence to the talent in here -- but he's been excellent," said Kolzig. "I think he should be the rookie of the year, no question." Added coach Glen Hanlon: "People always ask you to compare him to somebody and I say he reminds me a lot of (Mark) Messier. He's a leader and he's not afraid to get involved." Ovechkin, who admits he would like to win the Calder Trophy, faces competition from Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, Calgary's Dion Phaneuf and Rangers' goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
THIS N' THAT: Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson skated for 40 minutes yesterday, but there's no timetable for his return from a cracked rib ... Muckler and assistant GM Peter Chiarelli are attending the world junior championship in Vancouver.