Eddie Olczyk (born August 16, 1966) is a former professional hockey player and head coach from the United States. He was a center in the National Hockey League for 16 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, and Los Angeles Kings. Olczyk was also the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins from June 2003 to December 2005.
He currently serves as a television color commentator for NHL on NBC and Chicago Blackhawks games on Comcast SportsNet Chicago and WGN-TV. He played 1,031 NHL games and produced 342 goals and 452 assists for a total of 794 points between 1984 and 2000. He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame on February 22, 2013.
Olczyk was tied with Phil Kessel for the second longest point streak by an American born player in NHL history, at 18 games. He achieved this in 1989-90, while with Toronto. That record was broken by Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks with a goal at 11:10 of the 1st period, November 28, 2015 vs. the Los Angeles Kings
Playing career Edit
Amateur career Edit
Olczyk grew up in Palos Heights, Illinois and went to Brother Rice Catholic High School. He was a star on the Illinois midget AAA team (Team Illinois) that won the 1982 national title against a Detroit Compuware squad that featured future NHL stars Pat LaFontaine and Al Iafrate. He then moved to Canada to play for the Stratford Cullitons junior team before joining the 1984 U.S. Olympic hockey team.
Professional career Edit
Olczyk was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of 1984 NHL Entry Draft, the third overall pick. He scored his first NHL goal in his first NHL game on October 11, 1984 vs the Detroit Red Wings in Chicago Stadium against Greg Stefan. From 1984 thru 1987, #16 Olczyk was a member of Chicago's infamous "Clydesdale Line" with #19 Troy Murray and #8 Curt Fraser, the nickname coined by Blackhawks broadcaster Pat Foley, as each player weighed in at or around 200 pounds. He was traded a number of times during his career. In 1987, Olczyk was traded to Toronto with Al Secord for Rick Vaive, Steve Thomas, and Bob McGill. He was traded again in 1990 to Winnipeg, with Mark Osborne for Dave Ellett and Paul Fenton. In 1992 he was traded for the third time in his career, this time to the New York Rangers for Kris King and Tie Domi. Olczyk missed most of 1993–94 season recovering from a thumb injury suffered in a game vs. Florida on January 3, 1994; he would, however, recover and took part in one playoff game (conference final game 6) and on June 14 1994 became Stanley Cup champion with the Rangers that season. During the next season he was traded back to Winnipeg for their 5th round choice (who ended up being Alexei Vasiliev) in the 1995 Entry Draft. After signing as a free agent with Los Angeles in 1996, he wouldn't even finish the season with them before being traded to Pittsburgh for Glen Murray. He finished his career in Chicago.
Post-playing career Edit
He returned to Pittsburgh to become the color analyst for the Penguins on FSN Pittsburgh, where he was given the nickname "Edzo" by current radio announcer and then co-announcer Mike Lange. In 2003, he moved from the booth to the bench and served as head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins from June 11, 2003 until December 15, 2005. Despite adding marquee free-agents, the Penguins started the season with a disappointing 8–17–6 record, leading to Olczyk's mutual consent on December 15.
Beginning with the 2006–07 NHL season, Olczyk was the game analyst for the Chicago Blackhawks television broadcasts, partnering play-by-play announcer Pat Foley and rinkside reporter Darren Pang. Olczyk is also the lead game analyst for NHL on NBC, and previously for the NHL on Versus; the latter later re-branded as NBCSN in 2012. Olczyk was also the lead game analyst for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics Men's Ice Hockey where he partners with Mike "Doc" Emrick. Perhaps his most notable moment as color commentator came at the end of the 5–3 U.S. win over Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, when he described the game as being "tremendously tremendous" after U.S. forward Ryan Kesler scored an empty-netter. The audio of Olczyk saying "This has been tremendously tremendous" was an instant hit among hockey enthusiasts and was the subject of many spoofs online. He was selected to repeat his duties alongside Emrick for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
On December 30, 2010, it was announced that Emrick and Olczyk signed a three-year extension to stay with NBC.
On October 15, 2012, Olczyk was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame along with Mike Modano and Mike Emrick. In 2004, he and Mike Emrick was inducted into the US Sports Hall of Fame.
On May 5, 2014, EA Sports announced that Olczyk will provide color commentary for NHL 15, 16, and 17 alongside play-by-play commentator Mike "Doc" Emrick and ice level analyst Joe Micheletti.
Personal life Edit
Olczyk has 4 children, two which are currently playing hockey: Nick plays for the South Shore Kings of the USPHL, and Tom, who plays for the Penn State Nittany Lions. Eddie Jr. spent a season with the Bloomington Thunder of the SPHL and is currently an assistant coach with the Niagara Purple Eagles. His younger brother Rick Olczyk is a former hockey player for Brown University and is currently an assistant general manager for the Carolina Hurricanes. Olczyk also has a daughter, Zandra, who is a student at the University of Alabama.