craig-berube-named-flyers-coach

Photo credit: Matt Slocum

When Peter Laviolette was panic-fired Monday morning for his team shooting 2.4% through three games at even strength, I laughed. Then I thought about the five-year contract they gave Vincent Lecavalier over the offseason, and I laughed some more. Then I thought about how they traded Vezina-winning goalie Sergei Bobrovsky one season and then bought out Ilya Bryzgalov the next, choosing to pay the Russian $23 million over the next 14 years not to play, tears started rolling down my face. Paul HoLOLmgren, you are teh best.

Once I got past that (it was difficult), I was quite happy for long-time Washington Capitals enforcer Craig Berube, who was named the Flyers’ new head coach (Not interim!).

Berube becomes the third player from the Capitals’ 1997-98 Stanley Cup Final team to become a head coach in the NHL joining former Capital captains Dale Hunter and Adam Oates. With former Caps’ 98 Cup Final players Calle Johansson and Olie Kolzig serving as assistants in Washington (Kolzig is goaltending coach), I wondered how many other players from that very-talented, overachieving team are now coaching in hockey.

The number is staggering.

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Joe Juneau

That’s the stuff right there.

I was 13-years-old on June 4th, 1998, when Joe Juneau scored the biggest goal in Washington Capitals history, pushing a rebound past Buffalo Sabres goaltender (and future hall of famer) Dominik Hasek 6:24 into overtime. The 3-2 OT victory sent the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time and my father to the Home Depot to buy a bottle of wood glue for the bed post I destroyed celebrating said goal. Oak should be stronger, really.

“Everybody wants to be a hero in a game like this,” Juneau told reporters that night. “I really believed our line was going to end up scoring the winning goal.”

Fourteen years later, Juneau was asked by the Capitals, in their latest Alumni Spotlight, to revisit that moment.

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Catching Up with Capitals Great Olie Kolzig

Olaf Kolzig speaking at the 2011 AHL Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Photo by Chris Gordon

Olaf Kolzig is announced to the Hershey crowd as the Eastern Conference's Honorary Captain. (Photo by Laura G.)

Olaf Kolzig is announced to the Hershey crowd as the Eastern Conference's Honorary Captain. (Photo by Laura G.)

On Monday, the AHL formally inducted four new members into its American Hockey League Hall of Fame: Maurice Podoloff, Larry Wilson, Harry Pidhirny, and Mitch Lamourex. Foster Hewitt Award-winning broadcaster Mike Emrick was the master of ceremonies, while Caps’ head coach Bruce Boudreau served as the keynote speaker.

Among the honorees at the event was former Capitals great Olaf Kolzig. Kolzig, in Hershey to serve as the Eastern Conference’s Honorary Captain at the All-Star Game, was recognized for his six stellar seasons in the AHL. Olie backstopped the Rochester Americans to the Calder Cup Finals in 1993 and won the championship with the Portland Pirates in 1994, where he was also named playoffs MVP.

After the induction ceremony concluded, I caught up with Kolzig downstairs at the media luncheon in the Hershey Theatre. With the rare opportunity to speak to a childhood hero, I asked Kolzig about the Capitals’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998, the playoffs meltdown last year, and why he reunited with the team after their messy divorce three seasons ago.

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