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Olie on Retirement, Caps, Future

Longtime Caps goaltender Olie Kolzig just called into ESPN 980's John Thompson Show to reflect on his career in Washington and talk a little bit about his post-retirement plans. Here's some of what he had to say:

On how he's feeling after announcing his retirement yesterday:
Obviously, it was a big decision to make, and I'm at peace with things, so it's time to start the second part of my life.

On if he plans to be a coach:
Coaching, probably not. I don't think I have the patience to be a coach. It's just not part of my makeup. ... I definitely want to stay in hockey, whether that's getting into the other side of it, maybe a lesser role in management. I know I have an eye for talent.

On what he's looking forward to in retirement:
Anything that has anything to do with putting a hockey team together ...Right now, I'm excited about taking my kids to school, swim practice, gymnastics -- all the things I couldn't do when I was playing.

What he wants to say to fans in Washington:
I want to thank all the fans in D.C.; they were very supportive through the years, even the lean years. I tell people down here [in Tampa] how underrated the city of Washington is. ... That Caps team has a legitimate shot -- if not this year, in a couple years -- of hoisting the Cup.

On Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby:
Playing with Ovie, seeing Ovie day in and day out, I'm a little biased. They're both dynamic players, but Crosby's more in the mold of Wayne Gretzky: sees the ice well, leads by example... Ovie's just a bull. He's such an infectious player. I was disappointed last year when people were giving him grief about his antics when he scored the [50th] goal. ... I really enjoy watching the kid play and I really enjoyed playing with him.

On what he felt most proud of on the ice:
The fact that I came into work every day. ... When I made the NHL finally, I appreciated every day up there. I never took a day off, I basically led by example. I was proud to do that for 19 years. Off the ice, the work I did with autism. ... At the end of the day, it's about how you're remembered as a person as opposed to as an athlete. I think I made my parents proud.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  September 24, 2009; 3:07 PM ET
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Next: Tonight's Lineup: Caps at Rangers


Class act as always.

Posted by: PhilR | September 24, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Agree with Phil, class act all the way. Thanks for all the great years here Olie.

Posted by: pkendrick | September 24, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Great to see some real Godzilla coverage via 980 posted.
I can go on and on about waht made Olie special here in DC like others have posted but an underated aspect of his popularity was the great interviews he consitently gave. He was always insighful, knowledgable, funny,and angry depending upon the situation and questioning. You always got an honest answer. How many athletes or mangement can you say that about in sports?

Posted by: Riddler1 | September 24, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"At the end of the day, it's about how you're remembered as a person as opposed to as an athlete. I think I made my parents proud."

If only more people thought that way.

Posted by: CapFan-in-GA | September 24, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Jersey in the rafters or no (still a decision for a few years down the road, see M. Gartner), the org should definitely schedule an Olie Kolzig appreciation night this season and distribute 15,000 bobble-heads. Heal the wounds, run some video, put a kid on a zamboni, wet some eyes. . . .

Great to hear from the guy.

Posted by: Sonyask | September 24, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Heal the wounds, run some video, put a kid on a zamboni, wet some eyes. . . .

Great to hear from the guy.

Posted by: Sonyask | September 24, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

They basically did that last year, save for the bobbleheads.

Posted by: Section117 | September 24, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

a class act indeed, specially with the fans!! .. .i remember taking my son to an autograph signing with olie at tysons corners a couple of years ago. line was long, but olie stayed way after the designated time was up saying "i will stay till everyone in line has made it through". He continued to stop for pics with each person in line and talk to the fans, particularly the kids. Must have stayed for almost an hour past his cut-off time, even though his 'handlers' tried to get him to leave on time. Not many athletes will do that these days!!

Posted by: madmax521 | September 24, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Olie will always have a warm spot in the hearts of all Caps fans. He's a class act through and through.

Posted by: AMD2 | September 24, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

@Lindsay - Please put a </center> at the end of your blog post, or don't use <center>? It makes the comments display really weird...

Posted by: irockthered | September 24, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

@irockthered: not a clue what you mean... looks normal to me.

Posted by: Lindsay_Applebaum | September 24, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

What did Kolzig have to say about Michael Nylander?

Posted by: SA-Town | September 24, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

My son is autistic and since the age of two or three fell in love with Godzilla the movie. I can still remember the first time we took him to see the Caps with Olie between the pipes we were going to watch but ended up just hoping he would have a melt down and then the first save he made that night when the Godzilla video came on and the lights coming on in my son's eyes. JOY JOY JOY JOY !!! Godzilla and Olie became one for him. A couple of years later in 2008 we watched Olie, for what would be our last, from sec 103 and oh my goodness my son could see Olie's helmet. The pure joy of that moment. "Daddy I see Godzilla on Olie's head". Olie would know how special it was to have our child open up and to have Olie himself, champion of Autistic children, be my son's fav.. come on you can't imagine how proud we are to call ourselves Olie's fans. God bless you Olie.

Posted by: Berndaddy | September 24, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Nice story Berndaddy

Posted by: Riddler1 | September 24, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

@Berndaddy - thanks for sharing that story. My son is autistic and I can imagine how great those moments must have been.

Posted by: brihobbs | September 24, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Hope this won't be the last we hear from Olie.

Posted by: nicko | September 24, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse



You are--and always will be--THE man, and you will be missed.

Got to get that YouTube movie together: Kolzig montage set to Blue Öyster Cult's "Godzilla".

Posted by: Rhino40 | September 24, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

did anyone see Nylander in the 400 sections in a red spiderman like suit dancing around last night @ the game

Posted by: capsgary | September 24, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse


Olie truly was a champion for your cause...He will always say his greatest achievement was being recognized by the NHL for his work with Autism Awareness.

If we dont retire his number, we should create a plaque in his honer in the concourse that speaks to his leadership and hard work for autism.

Posted by: SA-Town | September 24, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

did anyone see Nylander in the 400 sections in a red spiderman like suit dancing around last night @ the game

Posted by: capsgary | September 24, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse


I saw that guy, he makes Cape Boy look normal...

Posted by: opus1m | September 24, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

yeah that guy is a take on "greenman" from it's always sunny in philadelphia

Posted by: _stevo | September 24, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

My favorite Olie moment has to be the commercial where he's at a fancy restaurant, takes the bottle of wine, and pours it all over his face as goalies are apt to do. Classic!

Posted by: glb8p | September 24, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse


Like you my son is Autistic and I run a couple of Autism Support Groups up here in Harford County. I will always be an Olie fan and reading your story was a real pick me up.

My son will not ever be that aware, but the cool thing is hearing stories like yours inspires parents especially those whose children are newly diagnosed. I am thrilled for you to have experienced that with your son. Any one who helps raise awareness of Autism and helps in funding research and care of these incredible kids are real heroes in my eyes.

Congrats Olie and Best Wishes!

Posted by: opus1m | September 24, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

@glb8p: There were a couple of years when the Caps were making some really excellent and funny commercials. That truly was one of the best. It never got old.

Posted by: hockeyweasel | September 24, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

The thing I will always remember about Kolzig is his perseverance. He was drafted in the first round in 1987 when it was very uncommon to see a goalie drafted that high, mostly because the Caps were desperate for a franchise goalie during those years. I think they drafted both Olie and Byron Dafoe that year.

he really didn't become a regular with the team till 1995 when he became Jim Carey's backup. After Carey fell apart in subsequent years in the playoffs, the rest is history as they say. During all those years when he was bouncing around in the minors, you never heard him complain, he just persevered and waited for his chance.

I for one thought he was just another wasted first round pick by the Caps which they were famous for during those years and never thought he would amount to anything. I'm glad I was wrong about him and the playoff run in 1998 is still the best moment in the history of this franchise. it never would have been possible without Olie.

Posted by: joek443 | September 24, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

First met Olie as a rookie when my wife and I accompanied the Caps to Russia in 1989. Class act then, even classier now. #37 in the rafters next year and in the Hall of Fame shortly thereafter.

p.s. Does anyone recall if Olie ever won the NHL award (I think it's the Masterson Award or something like that) for community service? If not, he damn sure should have.

Posted by: StevefromSacto | September 24, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse


Yes, Olie did win the Clancy trophy for leadership and community service in 05-06 for Athletes for Autism.

Posted by: washcaps | September 24, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Class act indeed. Best of luck Olie, enjoy the family time. Don't be a stranger.

Posted by: blwiseass | September 25, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

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