Kolzig Returns to Caps

Per the Washington Captials press release:

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have hired former Capital Olie Kolzig as associate goaltender coach, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. Dave Prior will return to his role as director of goaltending and NHL goaltender coach.

“We are excited to add a familiar face to our staff in Olie Kolzig,” said McPhee. “Olie had a tremendous impact on this franchise as a goaltender as well as an individual, and we are looking forward to him having the same impact as a coach.”

Kolzig, 41, played in 711 games as a Capital from 1989-90 through 2007-08. He currently owns nearly every all-time Capitals goaltending record, including games played, wins (301), shutouts (35) and minutes (41,259) and ranks fourth (minimum 3,000 minutes played) in goals-against average (2.70) and third in save percentage (.906). In terms of single-season records, Kolzig leads in games (73), minutes (4,371), wins (41) and is second (minimum 1,200 minutes) in goals-against average (2.20), save percentage (.920) and shutouts (6).

The Johannesburg, South Africa, native was awarded the 2000 Vezina Trophy, awarded to the league’s top goalie, and was named the 2005-06 King Clancy Memorial Trophy winner (awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and who has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community). He was also named to two NHL All-Star teams (1998 and 2000) as a member of the Capitals.

A former Caps first-round draft pick (19th overall) in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, Kolzig helped guide Washington to its only Stanley Cup Final in 1998. During his final season with the Caps in 2007-08, Kolzig was teammates with several current Capitals, including captain Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin and Mike Green. The three-time German Olympian (1998, 2002 – sat out due to injury and 2006) appeared in 719 career NHL games with Washington and Tampa Bay before retiring in September 2009.

Prior spent 12 seasons as the Capitals goaltending coach from 1996-97 through the 2008-09 season, including 11 seasons coaching Kolzig, and worked in the Capitals organization as a goalie coach this past season. Under his watch, Washington goalies posted three of the five lowest team goals-against averages in franchise history, including Kolzig’s Vezina-winning season (1999-2000) and the Caps 1998 Stanley Cup appearance. The Capitals won four divisional championships and made six playoff appearances during Prior’s tenure.

Before joining the Capitals’ coaching staff, Prior worked as a goaltending coach for the Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, San Jose Sharks and Winnipeg Jets. In addition, the native of Guelph, Ontario, gained international experience mentoring goalies on the German National Team and spent seven years working with the NHL Central Scouting Bureau.

Both coaches will attend the Capitals’ Rookie Development Camp, running from July 11-16 at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va.

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11 Responses to Kolzig Returns to Caps

  1. Sam W. says:

    I wonder if we’ll soon see the Caps’ young goalies dropping F-bombs like Godzilla used to at practice. Heh!

  2. jwh37 says:

    Now, if they’ll just grow a pair and fire the head coach, maybe we can turn this ship around.

  3. Spank That Donkey says:

    It’s refreshing that Management is trying to break the Kolzig Curse! That will only be accomplished when Uncle Fester is shown the door, however.

    You forgot to highlight the fact that Ollie carried the Capitals when the team was blown up, and could have easily asked for a trade when Jagr & Company was traded off, so he could have a shot at the Cup. He labored on with a bunch of rookies in front of him facing 30 and 40 shots a night…

    Years later, finally into the playoffs, and Fester sat him while the Flyers pushed Huet around in the crease… That is the curse… wouldn’t play Ollie because he was afraid if he won a game; he would have to keep him in the rotation, and on the team… Fester was looking to totally clean house of all the veterans so he would be the man…

    Show me a series where Fester has correctly used his goalies. He is clueless to the position.. not to mention he is clueless about defense…

    End the curse Ted!

  4. Grooven says:

    Maybe Kolzig’ll help the kids toughen up so as not to be pushed around in the crease as much.

  5. Dave H says:

    Olie mentoring Holtby is just dreamy. Hopefully he has an influence on the whole attitude of the team.

  6. Mike S says:

    Unrelated to Kolzig, but another Caps “where are they now” sighting: Steve Konowalchuk was hired as the head coach of the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds this week: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/hockey/2015331518_birds16.html

  7. CLIFFORD says:

    Who the hell cares? The Caps need PLAYERS who don’t disappear in tight situations like the playoffs or even during the regular season on the road—or against tough clubs anywhere (Semin and Backstrom). They also need players who don’t play “every-man-for-himself” hockey whenever the team is down by more than one goal (Alex Ovechkin). And they need a coach who recognizes the fact that his team plays better in front of his most effective goalie (that would be Braden Holtby), and who recognizes that the team doesn’t need THREE goalies–that they should make up their minds who their two best goalies are and trade the third best one for a pair of rock ribbed 6’4″ defensemen who know how and when to take the body and then clear the damned puck out of their own end after their butter fingered forwards cough it up… If Olaf Kolzig can improve the Caps in all of the aforementioned ways then congratulations are in order. If he can’t, then his hiring is much ado about nothing.

    Clifford BurtonSanta Monica

  8. Alex says:

    Who else thinks we should hire Cristobal Huet as assistant goalie coach for the playoffs?

  9. Spank That Donkey says:

    Huet spit on the Caps leaving for a little more dough.. just part of the curse.

  10. Eric says:

    What happened to Irbe?

  11. sean says:

    What isn’t discussed here is why Irbe left, I won’t even get into the 0 experience Kolzig has in Coaching. There are some serious problems with this team and it seems Irbe didn’t like the (non)decisions upper Management were making.

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