Tag: Olaf Kolzig

Olaf Kolzig

Kolzig looking forward to new role with Capitals


After spending the 2013-14 season as the team’s goaltending coach, Olaf Kolzig is looking forward to his new role in Washington as the club’s professional development coach.

Kolzig, 44, asked for a reassignment during the offseason in order to be closer to his his three kids.

The former Capitals first-round pick (19th overall in 1989) is hoping to use his new role as a stepping stone to bigger front office responsibilities.

“I’ve always thought about trying to get into the management side of things,” Kolzig told the Monumental Network. “This is a great way to start. You’re developing players, you’re watching them and nurturing them. And at some point, when my kids get older and I feel that I can spend more time up here, then maybe that’s something that I’d like to pursue. But for now, I was very appreciative that the organization accepted my new role and the proposal that I sent to them. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s great because it does allow me to get back and be with the kids, and at the same time have that chance to get my name on the [Stanley] Cup.”

Kolzig, who spent parts of 16 seasons in Washington, ranks 22nd among goaltender in games played (706) and 26th in wins (303). He’s trying to learn from former teammates Craig Billington and Chris Clark, who have also transitioned from their playing days to front office jobs with NHL clubs.

“When Biller first went to Colorado, he introduced this proposal to them, and I think it’s a vital thing in the game today, developing these kids,” said Kolzig, who will also be a fill-in goaltending coach. “And not just from how they are on the ice and their skills set but their transition from junior hockey or college or European hockey to all of a sudden pro hockey.”

Kolzig knows what that development process is like first hand. After being drafted in ’89, he didn’t become a full-time NHLer until the 1996-97 season. His development took him through a number of stops in both the American Hockey League and East Coast Hockey League.

“It takes some time to develop a routine and to develop something that works for you,” says Kolzig. “It’s a huge transition. I don’t think people understand how big it is. What you try to do is to keep them busy so they’re not constantly thinking about the game. You need a break. There is a lot of pressure in pro hockey. If you’re in a bit of a slump, your tendency is just to go home and dwell on it and at the end of the day, it will probably snowball and you’ll put yourself in more of a funk. It’s better to leave whatever it is at the rink and then go home and do whatever else it is. Maybe you have a dog, or a girlfriend, or you’re learning a language or an instrument. Just something to be productive.

“I know we all like to live and breathe hockey, but at the same time you also need something away from the rink. When I was younger, I played golf. It was a different time back when I came in; you had a lot of veterans and you did a lot of team bonding stuff away from the rink. And that’s not the case nearly as much now. If I can get the guys to be a lot more comfortable and keep the mountains low and the valleys high, and just keep them at a consistent level, then I think I’ve done my job.”

Kolzig begins his new role with the club this weekend.

Caps’ goalie coach Kolzig on CBA talks: “I don’t think you’re going to see what happened in 2004″

Olaf Kolzig
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When speaking about current CBA negotiations and the possibility of a lockout, many harken back to the work stoppage of 2004…and how nobody wants to see another lost season.

Former Caps goalie — and now associate goalie coach — Olaf Kolzig can speak to that, having played through the work stoppage (with a brief spell in Berlin.)

In speaking with the Washington Times, he referred to the 2004 lockout as “awful” and an “ugly situation.”

Because of that, he’s optimistic things will be better in 2012.

“They’re going to try their hardest to get it done, and if for whatever reason it doesn’t get done by Sept. 15, I would assume it would get done in a short amount of time,” he said. “I don’t think you’re going to see what happened in 2004.

“I think it won’t be as biased an outlook as it was maybe back in 2004. I think both sides really are going to try to hammer something out.”

Kolzig said the lost season was frustrating financially — “it’s money I’ll never make back,” he said — and difficult for a lot of older players who essentially saw it terminate their careers. The likes of Mark Messier, Ron Francis and Adam Oates never returned to play.

Those lessons could play a key role in this year’s situation, as the NHLPA’s 31-player Negotiating Committee is laden with players that experienced the 2004 work stoppage.

It’s something Kolzig hopes will aid in the process.

“I think so, especially communicating with the younger guys that maybe haven’t gone through this process and letting them know because it is ultimately the players’ vote on what they agree to and what they won’t agree to.”

The Capitals think they’ve got Henrik Lundqvist’s weakness figured out

Henrik Lundqvist

Henrik Lundqvist is no stranger to the Washington Capitals in the playoffs. The two sides faced each other last year as well as in 2009 and while the memo for the Caps in 2009 was to shoot high glove side to beat Lundqvist, Washington’s plan of attack this time around is taking a similar tone.

Capitals goalie coach Olaf Kolzig tells CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley beating Lundqvist is hard to do no matter what, but going high against him gives you hope.

“You look at him and you think, ‘Geez, he plays pretty deep, you should be able to pick his pocket,’” Capitals associate goalie coach Olie Kolzig said. “But his angles are so good and he plays so wide. You’ve got to beat him with a good shot, a good high shot.”

Going high is dangerous because not putting the shot on the net can cause things to spin out of control the other way. With the kind of traffic the Caps want to create in front of the net, missing a shot high also means not having rebounds to clean up. The Rangers aren’t really ones to give up clean looks at the goal, but when Washington’s had a clear lane they’ve done well.

One thing is for sure, if going high is Lundqvist’s weakness, repeating how 2009 went down is not something he wants to go through.

PHT breaks down Alex Ovechkin’s rock star pressure

Alex Ovechkin

PHT’s Mike Halford and Jason Brough shared their thoughts on Olaf Kolzig’s claims that Alex Ovechkin is trying to live up to a “rock star image” on NBC Sports Talk today. (For what it’s worth, Ovi laughed off the comments.)

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Considering Brough’s comparison to Jamie Foxx’s rapping quarterback character from “Any Given Sunday,” maybe we’re asking the wrong question. Is Ovechkin trying to be a rap superstar instead?

(Immediately imagines Ovechkin pouring out a 40 after a tough loss.)

Kolzig: Dale Hunter isn’t afraid to bruise some egos

St Louis Blues v Washington Capitals
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Earlier today, PHT revealed former Washington Capitals goalie (and current goalie coach) Olaf Kolzig’s illuminating perspective on Alex Ovechkin.

CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley also gathered some quips from “Godzilla” regarding head coach Dale Hunter, who Kolzig also played with in parts of seven seasons.

“As a coach, you’re going to bruise some egos and hurt some feelings,” Kolzig said. “But that’s what he believes in, and if that’s what it’s going to take to get this team close to winning a Stanley Cup, and at the end of the day if that happens, all those unpopular decisions all of a sudden will look pretty smart.”

Interestingly enough, Kolzig points to Hunter’s one-year contract as a strength for the bench boss, which is an, um, unusual perspective. (Is that kind of instability really what any head coach wants, even a “tough guy” like Hunter?)

I’ll be honest, when the Capitals decided to promote an OHL coach* after firing Bruce Boudreau – whose previous job was in the AHL – I furrowed my brow more than a bit. It seems like a lateral move on paper, if not a step back.

Hunter’s run hasn’t really done a ton to make the move seem brilliant, but Kolzig has a point; if the Capitals come through in the playoffs, Hunter will look like a guy with his “finger on the pulse of the team” and all that cliched fun.

Of course, Hunter’s first task is getting Washington in the playoffs in the first place, which is far from a guarantee.

* – Even one with such obvious historical ties to the franchise as Hunter.