Some athletes are hot dogs, but this is ridiculous. Some are showoffs who make plays with lots of mustard, but none has gone so far as Capitals goaltender Olaf Kolzig.

Kolzig has been trying to make his mark in the NHL for years. Now, he appears to have done so -- and he's relishing the feeling.

It all started innocently enough last year in Tampa Bay's ThunderDome, where Kolzig asked some card company photographers: "What's the weirdest hockey card you every made? Have you caught a guy eating popcorn or a hot dog or something?"

The next thing Kolzig knew, "the guy handed me a hot dog with my name written in mustard on it."

Kolzig forgot about the whole thing until "I was walking out of USAir Arena a month ago. This lady was just howling. I asked her what's so funny. She said, Have you seen your new hockey card?' "

Every (hot) dog has his day, and now Kolzig is a hot commodity among card collectors and autograph hounds. "I guess that's my legacy now in the NHL," he lamented, "that I have the funniest card."

Recently, on Long Island, Kolzig "had a record following for autographs. It was league high for me. It took me 15 minutes to walk from Marriott, which is about 500 feet from the Nassau Coliseum." (Dog Day Afternoon?)

But there's even more to this card. "On the back, to add insult to injury, they have an action shot of Tabby," Kolzig said, referring to former Capitals goaltender Rick Tabaracci.

Kolzig vows that he never ate the hotdog. Still, the man known for years as "Olie the Goalie" could have himself a new nickname. "Well, the last three games I played, you really can't call me a hotdog. So, until I start playing a little better, I won't be getting that nickname anytime soon."

Hey, at least the card is worth something. "Yeah," he said, "maybe a quarter." CAPTION: Olaf Kolzig's card is mouth-watering to collectors and autograph seekers.