Meet Olie Kolzig
Olaf Kölzig was selected by the Capitals 1989 Draft 19th Overall. He spent several years in the American Hockey League with the Baltimore Skipjacks, Rochester Americans, and Portland Pirates, and the ECHL with the Hampton Roads Admirals, after playing major junior hockey for the New Westminster Bruins and Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League (WHL). On November 29, 1989, Kölzig scored a goal with the Americans. During 2004/05 NHL lockout he signed with the German club Eisbären Berlin.
Kölzig played his first NHL game in the 1989–90 NHL season, only to be sent down to the minors for a few years. In the 1995–96 NHL season, he was brought up to be a backup for Jim Carey and remained the backup when the Capitals acquired Bill Ranford from the Boston Bruins during the 1996–97 NHL season. Early in the next season, Ranford suffered an injury and Kölzig was called upon to become the starter, at least temporarily. Kölzig wound up playing well for the rest of the season, winning a total of 33 games and achieving a 2.20 goals against average. He remained the starting goaltender for the Capitals until the 2008 trading deadline, and holds virtually every franchise record at his position.
In the 1997–98 season Kölzig led the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Finals. In the playoffs, he became only the tenth goalie in NHL history to record four shutouts in one postseason. The Caps were swept in four games by the defending champion Detroit Red Wings.
In 2000, he won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goalie after going 41–20–11 with a 2.24 GAA and five shutouts. In the American Hockey League he won the 1994 Jack A. Butterfield Trophy (MVP of the American Hockey League playoffs) and the 1994 Hap Holmes Memorial Award.
Kölzig was also the starting goalie for the German Olympic team in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, recording a 1.00 GAA and went 2–0. He also played with the German team in the 2004 World Cup, yet went 0–3 with a 3.34 GAA.
Kölzig also has the distinction of being one of four goaltenders to play a scoreless period during an NHL All-Star Game, having done so at the 2000 All-Star Game. He also played in the 1998 All-Star Game, in which he made 14 saves on 17 shots.
In 2004, the Capitals held a vote for fans to determine the top 30 players in the franchise history to celebrate their 30th season in the league. Kölzig’s 2,038 votes led all players. In 2005, Oleg won the NHL’s King Clancy award for leadership on and off the ice.
Kölzig also started in goal again for Germany’s Olympic team at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
On March 12 Kölzig became the twenty-third goalie to win 300 games. The Capitals qualified for the playoffs. That year Kölzig announced he did not intend to return to the team. At the time, he was the last remaining Capital to have worn the original red, white and blue uniform and the blue jersey from 1995. On July 1, 2008, Kölzig became an unrestricted free agent and signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He served as the back-up goalie to Mike Smith. In Kolzig’s return to D.C. he was loudly cheered and a video in tribute to his time with the Caps was shown. On January 28, 2009, it was announced that Kölzig would miss the rest of the 2008–09 season due to a ruptured biceps tendon in his left arm. He was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs along with Jamie Heward, Andy Rogers and a 4th round pick on March 4, 2009 as part of a trade deadline deal for Richard Petiot. As he was at that time suffering from an injury that would see him out for the season
On September 23, 2009, Kölzig announced his retirement from the NHL. Later that year, Kölzig was named to the ECHL Hall of Fame and was inducted in the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2010 at the 2010 ECHL All-Star Game in Ontario, California.
Olie is currently the head goalie coach for the Washington Capitals, with a goal of helping the team get back to the Stanley Cup finals like he once did as a player. In his spare time, Olie is a popular motivational speaker in his community of Washington, DC.
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