After two years serving as associate goaltending coach and working with Washington’s minor league prospects, former Capitals great Olie Kolzig will take the next step in helping to mold the direction of the team.
The Capitals have promoted Kolzig to head goaltender coach, meaning he will now handle the daily responsibilities at the NHL level, working with Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth.
Kolzig, 43, replaces his longtime goaltending coach and close friend, Dave Prior, who held the post for 14 seasons. General Manager George McPhee is scheduled to speak with reporters about Kolzig’s promotion and Prior’s departure Wednesday afternoon.
Ultimately, though, Kolzig’s full-time transition into coaching doesn’t come as a surprise. In 2011, Prior returned as goaltending coach after a two-year break that saw him serve as a scout and advisor. When Kolzig was brought on board that year, it was clear the Capitals hoped their former star goaltender would enjoy working with the next generation of netminders enough to eventually take over the post.
“There’s a lot of stuff he knows from having been coached and working with people like myself, but there’s a lot of learning what the prospects are like and finding solutions to their deficiencies that’s new,” said Prior, who hopes to mentor Kolzig and then slide back into the advisory role he held the two previous seasons of helping draft and develop the organization’s youngest goalies.
General Manager George McPhee acknowledged there is a definite possibility of Kolzig becoming the team’s full-time goaltending coach in the future.
“Dave, in his mind, thinks he can give us a couple more good years, maybe one, maybe three. At some point if Olie really takes to this and likes it and is good at it, we could see a transition there,” McPhee said. “It’s great to have him back. He looks great in Caps colors.”
In conjunction with Kolzig’s promotion, the Capitals announced that they’ve hired Scott Murray as associate goaltending coach. Murray, 35, spent the past five years as goaltending coach for the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves.