Speaking of the business side, how tough was it to sit out an entire season during the lockout? What did you do to keep yourself in shape during that time and how tough was it not knowing the next time you'd get to play another game in the NHL?
You know, I went through it in 1994, so it wasn't that tough. I actually enjoyed the time off. I wanted to play hockey, but it gave me a chance to be with my family 24 hours a day and see my youngsters grow up a little bit. After Christmas I started to get the itch a little bit, so I decided to go over to Germany to play for three months. It was great; I was able to rest my body for the first three months and then after Christmas got back into the competitive spirit and was able to play for a few months. Losing that one year in the NHL really didn't affect me like it did a lot of guys who didn't play during the lockout.
Talk to me about gameday. Are your superstitious? Do you have a set routine - you know, a certain meal or music to get you in the right frame of mind?
No, I'm not superstitious in that I have to drive in the left lane on such and such a street and things like that. I mean, I have a routine. I eat at a certain time, I leave for the rink at a certain time and I get dressed in the dressing room at a certain time, but that's just to keep things in order. But I don't have to get out of the left side of the bed and put my right foot on the ground first, or that kind of deal. I try not to be that way.
Whether it's breaking your goalie stick over the crossbar or ripping into someone on a bad night, you're temper has become fairly legendary around town. What goes into a good explosion or meltdown?
Some things need to be built up. I do it because I don't want it to fester. I want to release it and just move on. Some people misconstrue things sometimes when I have a temper tantrum and think that I'm being a baby. I just can't let it sit inside of me; I have to let it out. And then after I do that I get refocused. But I've gone through a few sticks, pieces of equipment and taken out a few stationary bikes here and there. There's been some good ones.
What's the best locker room prank or stunt you've ever seen or been a part of?
There are some I can't say, but one of the best was when I was with the Baltimore Skipjacks, Mark Ferner was in a feud with one of the guys and it ended up being a bigger feud as the season went on. We were all on the ice and he was injured, so he took all of the guys' jeans and stuck them in water and put them in the freezer. When we came off the ice they were frozen solid. It took us a half hour to find them and another 45 minutes to thaw them in the dryer. That was a long day.
Which current player would you pay money to see play, and which player gives you the biggest challenge when you are in goal?
I get to see him every night, so Alex Ovechkin obviously. It varies night to night, but right now Jon Sim, who is kind of a no name guy that plays down in Atlanta, but over the last couple of years he's always managed to find a way to score.
While some athletes make headlines for all the wrong reasons you're busy making a difference. You're actively involved with Athletes Against Autism, Olie's All Stars and the Carson Kolzig Foundation. So much so, that you were awarded the NHL's King Clancy Memorial Trophy for humanitarian service in 2006 and named one of the 10 Washingtonians of the Year by Washingtonian Magazine in 2000. Why are you so involved in so many different programs when you could be out firing handguns in front of strip clubs?
(Laughs). First of all, it's not in my nature to be that way. I think we're in a fortunate position as athletes because we can make a difference in people's lives. I'm fortunate to be doing what I'm doing, and there are a lot of people who are less fortunate out there. I don't think it's an obligation on an athlete's part, but I think that they should be giving back to some extent. Obviously finding out that my son has autism steered me in that direction. I'm passionate about kids and I don't think being a kid and being sick should go hand-in-hand. So I tried to get a group of athletes together to make a difference in the world of autism.
You said you see yourself playing another three or four years, could you see yourself ever getting into coaching?
So what are you gonna do when you hang them up?
Stu Barnes and I own a junior hockey team in the Tri-cities where I spend my offseasons, and I think I'll be more involved in that. I don't have the patience and I have too much of a temper to be a coach. I realize that, so I'm not going to put myself in a position where I would lose my patience and lose my cool.
Tell us something most people don't know about you.
There's nothing really. I'm pretty open about everything and tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve. I'm not a quiet or reserved guy, so everything that people have read about is the true me. There's not really anything that I keep secret.
We've got one last thing for you here. We are going to do a word association. We'll just throw out a name and tell us the first thing that comes to your mind.
The Washington Capitals.
The greatest league out there.
Athletes Against Autism.
Interviewed by Brian Murphy, January 2007. Olaf Kolzig and the Washington Capitals will host the Second Annual Autism Awareness Night when they take on the Atlanta Thrashers at the Verizon Center, Jan. 6. For more information about Athletes Against Autism, visit