ST. PAUL, Minn. | Dave Prior has done this dance before. He was the Capitals’ goaltending coach for 12 years until stepping down in the summer of 2009.
But this turn in that position brings with it a bit of a different dimension – the opportunity to work with former pupil Olie Kolzig, who was named associate goalie coach. Speaking at Xcel Energy Center during the final round of the NHL Draft, Prior was excited to be reunited with Kolzig.
“He certainly brings something to our goaltenders I can’t offer them, but he’ll still have some learning to do as a coach,” Prior said. “Olie knows good from bad goaltending as well as anyone, but the challenge in coaching is when guys aren’t playing well to get them playing good. And that’s a skill you acquire over time.”
Kolzig, who took the job because he was approached by Prior, will be charged with helping the Caps’ young goalies, particularly in Hershey and South Carolina. Prior has the day-to-day gig with the Caps at the NHL level.
But Prior’s job includes possibly training a successor.
“I’m gonna assist him in polishing his coaching skills,” Prior said, “and if he really enjoys it and embraces it, I’d like no one better to succeed me in the organization as our NHL [goaltending] coach.”
Kolzig said a couple weeks ago he’d be interested in becoming the “full-time guy” at some point. His apprenticeship under Prior unofficially begins with prospect camp at Kettler in mid-July.