Monday, May 19, 2014

Olaf Kolzig Germany Jersey

Germany's jerseys at this year's World Championships are definitely among the most beautiful:
They have won a game, and all three of their goalies have had some ice time, which wasn't necessarily the case when Olaf Kolzig was their stopper. Godzilla/Olie The Goalie was a superstar in nets at the end of the 1990s and to start off the new millennium. He was a two-time All-Star, a Vezina winner, a Stanley Cup finalist (the year they lost in the Finals, despite being swept by the Detroit Red Wings, his GAA still stood at an unbelievable 1.95 and his save percentage was .941 in 21 games), and King Clancy trophy winner in the NHL, plus a Butterfield trophy (playoff MVP) and Hap Holmes award (best GAA) winner in the AHL, and league champion in Germany during the 2004-05 lockout.

He holds 8 Washington Capitals career records, 5 season records, and 9 playoff team records. For a dozen seasons, he was the Capitals, who never regretted making him their first-round pick (19th overall) in 1989. He was from a weird draft, as several first-rounders didn't pan out (Adam Bennett, Lindsay Vallis, Jason Soules, Jamie Heward, Shayne Stevenson, and Steve Bancroft), others didn't become impact players (Dave Chyzowski, Doug Zmolek, Jason Herter, Jason Marshall, Rob Pearson, Kevin Haller, and Steven Rice), but the latter rounds produced Hall Of Famers (Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, and Pavel Bure) and solid players (Adam Foote, Patrice Brisebois, Bob Boughner, Keith Carney, Donald Audette, Arturs Irbe, Vladimir Malakhov, and Vladimir Konstantinov).

At 6'3'' and 220 pounds, Kolzig stood taller than most of his peers, and was one of the last all-out acrobatic goalies, using the butterfly as a move rather than a style (like they did in the 1970s), although he did become more technical in the last part of his career.

A man of the world, he was born in South Africa and raised in Western Canada, but because he never applied for Canadian citizenship, his passport was the same as his parents', German, which allowed him to play in international competitions without having to worry about Patrick Roy, Ed Belfour, Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo. And so, he fit in perfectly when In The Game produced their 2011-12 Canada Vs The World set, and this card (#IMM-33 of the International Material sub-set) - featuring a huge burgundy swatch considering how little of it is on the team's jersey - is a terrific one:

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