Michal Neuvirth seems like the Capitals’ goalie of the present. He was unflappable even in defeat, and coach Bruce Boudreau never flinched or went to Semyon Varlamov in the playoffs.
But many look at Braden Holtby and wonder if he’s the most talented guy in the Caps’ deep crease. Thursday’s move to make Olie Kolzig Washington’s associate goalie coach is set to benefit Holtby more than anyone else, according to analyst Justin Goldman of the Goalie Guild.
“The thing that really interests me about this is Braden Holtby,” Goldman said in a telephone interview Thursday afternoon. “Just because Kolzig and Holtby have similar biomechanics and similar size I think Kolzig’s gonna really be able to step in and help Holtby whether he’s in Washington or Hershey.”
Kolzig admitted that’s going to be part of his job. With Dave Prior reassuming the day-to-day duties, replacing Arturs Irbe, Kolzig will be charged with helping the organization’s young goalies improve. And the 41-year-old who owns every franchise goaltending record knows there’s a link between his style and Holtby’s.
“From what Dave told me, he’s kinda got the same temperament and the same competitive nature,” Kolzig said in a teleconference with reporters.
Goldman said they’re unbelievably similar – both have “good reflexes for their size and are pretty active goaltenders,” he said. As for Neuvirth and Varlamov, Goldman is a fan of anything Kolzig can do with those two as well – helping with their footwork and being able to talk both (especially Varlamov) through injury problems.
Goldman praised the Caps for being what he believed to be the sixth team in the NHL to have two goaltending coaches – something that’s working well with the San Jose Sharks. Overall, Goldman called Kolzig’s return “just a terrific situation.”
Exactly what Caps fans want to hear.