While a handful of Washington Capitals plan to play overseas during the NHL lockout, Olaf Kolzig will stay close to his home in Kennewick, Wash., where he has taken a position as goaltenders coach with his former junior team, the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League.
Kolzig, who is volunteering his time, will be "an active" coach, he said yesterday, meaning he will wear pads and take part in drills while providing instruction to the players.
"I approached them a few months back about getting some ice time with them to stay in shape," Kolzig said. "And they took it a step farther, asking me to help their goalies along. I figured this is good for both sides."
"They've got some talented prospects, I just hope I don't mess them up," he joked.
Kolzig is the Capitals' highest-paid player and could lose nearly $6.25 million in salary if there is no NHL season.
Meantime, Capitals restricted free agent Dainius Zubrus suffered a wrist injury while playing for Russia in the World Cup of Hockey this month.
Zubrus said yesterday that the injury does not appear to be serious. Yet he was concerned enough to fly from Russia to Washington this week to see a specialist.
Zubrus said he will return to Russia this month and expects to join Lada-Togliatti of the Russian Super League. Zubrus has an out clause in his contract with Lada, meaning he can join the Capitals whenever the NHL resumes, provided Washington signs him to a new contract. Zubrus said he has not been contacted by the Capitals since the end of last season.
"It's just a sprain," Zubrus said of the injury. "I could play with it, but it was hurting me so I wanted to see a doctor. It's nothing major. . . . I don't know what is going to happen with the Capitals. Even if the NHL comes back, I don't have a contract and no one is talking about it."
-- Tarik El-Bashir