Ed Olczyk

Olczyk honored during Hockey Fights Cancer night in Chicago

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The Chicago Blackhawks honored one of their own on Hockey Fights Cancer night at the United Center on Sunday.

Eddie Olczyk skated onto the ice fighting back tears as the Chicago faithful cheered him on.

The honoring was two-fold.

First, it was a part of Chicago’s ‘One More Shift’ ceremony that’s included former players such as Ed Belfour, Steve Larmer and Jeremy Roenick.

Secondly, it was a chance to properly acknowledge Olczyk’s fight against Stage 3 colon cancer, a battle he waged for months before announcing in March that he was cancer-free.

Olczyk took the ceremonial faceoff opposite of Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu (whose brother Saku missed the entire 2001-02 season with Burkitt’s lymphoma).

Carter Holmes, an 11-year-old Blackhawks fan who is in remission after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in June, got to drop the puck after spending time with the team thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Olczyk gave Holmes a hug after handing him the puck.

Olczyk played 222 games for the Blackhawks across five seasons, scoring 77 goals 132 points. The 52-year-old was drafted third overall by Chicago in the 1984 NHL Draft and went on to play 1,031 games with six different teams over his 16-year career, including stops in Winnipeg, Toronto, New York, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.

With the Rangers, Olczyk lifted the Stanley Cup in 1994.

Olczyk has been working with NBC as a color commentator since 2006.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Ed Olczyk itching to coach again

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It’s been almost nine years since NBC’s Ed Olczyk was last behind the bench as a coach. He was coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins from 2003 til Dec. 15, 2005 when he was fired and replaced by Michel Therrien.

Now we all know him as Doc Emrick’s color commentator on NBC and NBCSN broadcasts, but he tells Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times he has that itch to coach once again.

“There is still an emptiness,” he says. “There are very few people who know my desires and my feelings of where I am and where I want to get to, but there’s certainly an aspiration there. So if it would present itself, that’s where I would want to go. It might not happen. Who knows? What I wanted to do back in ’03 is where I’d like to go if I got the opportunity.”

Olczyk’s tenure with the Penguins is best known for seeing him coach Sidney Crosby in his rookie season in 2005. Olczyk lasted just 31 games before being fired as the Penguins got off to a 8-17-6 start.

Olczyk said if the opportunity to coach again was there he’d have to consider it. After being given a Penguins team before the arrival of Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang and featured Dick Tarnstrom as the leading scorer, wanting to get back at it and try again is understandable.

Video: Ed Olczyk reflects on being named to U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

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American hockey is in such a great place right now that it’s no longer a shocker to see a guy like Patrick Kane or Zach Parise light up the NHL. Still, some believe that the likes of Mike Modano represented a golden era for their nation, so today was a special day for that group as Modano, Ed Olczyk and Lou Lamoriello were inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

Olczyk discusses that great honor in the video below.

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Modano, Lamoriello and Olczyk inducted to U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

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The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame has announced its 2012 inductees and, once again, it’s an impressive field.

The class is highlighted by Mike Modano, who over the course of 20 seasons in Minnesota, Dallas and Detroit became the highest-scoring American-born player in NHL history.

“He is one of the absolute all-time greats,” said USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrean. “It is difficult to find a better American player.”

Modano routinely represented the U.S. internationally, winning a silver medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics and gold at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.

Speaking of that World Cup win, the GM of the American squad — New Jersey Devils CEO and president Lou Lamoriello — was also inducted into the U.S. HHOF. Lamoriello was recognized for his outstanding contributions to USA Hockey, most notably what he did in ’96.

Ogrean called Lamoriello “The architect of one of the most significant moments in USA Hockey history — 1996 World Cup of Hockey Championship.”

(For more on how LouLam constructed the team, check out this NHL.com profile.)

The third and final 2012 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee was NHL on NBC analyst Ed Olczyk.

The No. 3 overall pick in 1984 played for six different teams during his 15-year career, appearing in over 1,000 NHL contests and scoring nearly 800 points.

“To sit in that chair every night and talk about the game and pump up American players and the greatest game in the world is a thrill,” Olczyk said. “It’s a very proud day for me and my family. I’m humbled, honored and thankful to represent our game in the great United States.”

Sidney Crosby is a fan of the Kentucky Derby

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Getting knocked out of the playoffs early can be a huge bummer, but if there’s an upside to it at all it’s that you’ve got free time to hit big time events. For Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, it meant heading to Louisville, Kentucky and Churchill Downs for the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Our friends at NBCSN’s Twitter account spotted Sid the Kid mingling about during the day’s races looking dapper. Wonder if the Kid enjoys a good mint julep?

Crosby isn’t the only hockey guy with a thing for the ponies as NBC’s Ed Olczyk gave his thoughts on who might take today’s Run for the Roses. If only we could’ve gotten Crosby’s pick on a winner for the day’s big race to compare it to his old head coach in Pittsburgh.