Thursday, June 16th 2011, the Washington Capitals announced the return of a couple familiar faces that a few Caps fans will remember; Dave Prior and Olaf Kolzig. Both of these men have very long histories with the organization. Guess the Caps just can’t be left behind after all!
Dave Prior was the longest continually tenured assistant coach in Washington Capitals franchise history with a 12 year stint that ended in 2009. He will be returning as Director of Goaltending and Goaltending Coach. It was on Dave’s recommendation that we also get to see the return of former Caps goalie, Olie Kolzig. Kolzig was named Associate Goaltending Coach. Kolzig played with the Capitals from 1989-2008 and holds most team goalie records, including 711 games played, 301 wins and 35 shutouts. He was a two-time NHL All-Star while playing for the Capitals and won the Vezina Trophy for the league's top goalie in 2000.
Per the Washington Capitals press release:
“We are excited to add a familiar face to our staff in Olie Kolzig,” said McPhee. “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.”
While Olie will occasionally fill in for Dave Prior while he is out scouting and work with Varly and Neuvy, he will spend the majority of his time working with the AHL and ECHL affiliates; the Hershey Bears and the South Carolina Stingrays.
When asked during an NHL Network interview what he felt about the Caps current goaltending, Kolzig said “he was excited to work with the team's three goaltenders, who he said each bring something different to the table”. Kolzig said he had met Michal Neuvirth briefly toward the end of his career, and that the young goaltender is poised and never seems to get too rattled. Kolzig called Semyon Varlamov "explosive and talented," and needs to stay healthy and reliable. And last but not least, he sees similarities between himself and 21-year-old Braden Holtby, as the two share the same temperament and competitive behavior. “Holtby is a diamond in the rough and could become the guy in Washington”.
Both coaches will attend the Capitals’ Rookie Development Camp, running from July 11-16 at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them at the third annual Capitals Convention in September as well. Welcome back Dave and Olie!