Olie Kolzig’s departure from the Capitals wasn’t on the best terms. But it appears all is well, as the best goaltender in franchise history is back.
The Caps on Thursday named Kolzig associate goaltending coach while announcing Dave Prior was returning to his former post as goaltending coach.
“We are excited to add a familiar face to our staff in Olie Kolzig,” general manager George McPhee said. “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 was the odd man out of a three-goalie system in 2008 when the Caps acquired Cristobal Huet and also had Brent Johnson. He went to Tampa Bay as a free agent and was traded to Toronto later, where he retired despite never playing a game with the Maple Leafs.
Prior and Kolzig will combine to replace Arturs Irbe, whom the team said resigned as goalie coach because of personal and family reasons.
Owner Ted Leonsis’ excitement was evident in his blog, titled, “Olie Back In The House!” as he wrote about the returns of Prior and Kolzig.
“I am so pleased to welcome back Dave Prior as our chief goaltending coach. He is a real talent and very experienced in helping young goaltenders to develop,” Leonsis wrote. “I am so very excited to welcome into the coaching ranks Olie Kolzig. Olie is an all-time great Washington Capital. He is a man of high integrity, skill and experience. He took us to the playoffs on so many occasions; helped us to get to the Stanley Cup Finals; won a Vezina Trophy; and will help inject very high levels of competition into our goaltenders and our team in general!”
Kolzig and McPhee are set to address the media at 2:30 and 3 p.m. teleconferences, respectively.
In an interview last winter with the popular blog Russian Machine Never Breaks, Kolzig had this to say about his relationship with the organization:
“Whatever differences I had [with the Caps] wasn’t going to keep me away from the fans. The fans always treated me well there. And I thought: ‘You know what? Time heals all wounds. Let’s move on.’ At the end of the day, you know, I’m going to be known as a Capital, not a Tampa Bay Lightning or a Toronto Maple Leaf. I’m a Washington Capital. Like I said, it’s unfortunate that things happened the way they did, but we’ve moved on.”