Why Olaf Kolzig Wasn’t the Backup Goaltender

Posted December 3, 2013

Olaf Kolzig plays defense during the September alumni game. (Photo courtesy Chris Gordon)

When Michal Neuvirth injured himself during warm-ups on Friday, the Capitals turned to video coach Brett Leonhardt to serve as back-up. But there was someone else around, someone Caps fans may remember as the best goalie in Caps history. He’s the current goalie coach, Olaf Kolzig, and he was in the building at the time when the Caps needed an emergency back-up.

Kolzig hasn’t been seen playing goalie recently, and even suited up as a defenseman in the Caps alumni game back in September.

But why, specifically, did the Caps turn to someone who has never played in the NHL over a former Vezina Trophy winner?

“My hips,” Kolzig said, after laughing at the notion that he would’ve even been considered. “I got them [repaired] a few years ago.”

So, there’s your answer. Like many former players, including Comcast SportsNet’s Craig Laughlin, Kolzig’s hips aren’t what they used to be.

So, Leonhardt, who is much younger than Kolzig and still serves as the Caps’ crash-test-dummy of sorts during practice sometimes, was the only answer.