Olaf Kolzig is synonymous with the Washington Capitals. For over a decade, "Godzilla" protected the Caps' crease, leading them to their only Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1997-98 and winning the Vezina Trophy in 1999-00. "Olie the Goalie" didn't finish his career with the Caps, but via Mike Vogel, he will return to the Caps next season as their associate goaltender coach.
Kolzig, the longest tenured Cap in franchise history (1989-2008), will join former Caps director of goaltending and goaltender coach Dave Prior, who will return to his position after retiring in 2009, in helping to shape Washington's young core of netminders: Michal Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov and Braden Holtby. Kolzig and Prior will replace Arturs Irbe, who will not return to the team as goaltending coach because of personal reasons.
Kolzig posted a 301-293-86 record for the Caps and still holds several franchise goaltending records, including games played, wins, shutouts and total minutes. Kolzig's last season with the Caps came in 2007-08, when he appeared in 54 games before trade deadline acquisition Cristobal Huet ultimately replaced him down the stretch as the Caps won the Southeast Division for the first time since 2000-01. The Tampa Bay Lightning signed Kolzig for the 2008-09 season, but he appeared in just eight games. The Lightning traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs in March 2009, but Kolzig never played in a game for them before retiring in September 2009.
Kolzig and Prior should have instant chemistry, considering Prior coached Kolzig during 11 of the former's 12 seasons as goaltending coach. The two of them saw unparalleled success during their player/coach relationship and it can only rub off on the Caps' current goalies as they both attempt to mentor Neuvirth, Varlamov and Holtby next season.