During rush hour Wednesday afternoon, the Capitals announced that defenseman Karl Alzner underwent successful surgery to repair a sports hernia. Alzner suffered a torn groin injury in the playoffs, which kept him on the bench for most of the Caps’ season-ending loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Alzner played just two shifts early in the second period before being pulled from Game Six.
The initial injury seemed to have occurred during the first round series against the Flyers but progressively grew worse.
The Washington Capitals announced Wednesday night that the Alzner family just got one teeny tiny human bigger. Mandy Alzner, who spent most of the 2015-16 season pregnant, has given birth to a healthy baby boy.
Last weekend, the two teammates took their families to Disney World. While Oshie and Alzner are literally the opposites on the ice, off of it they both have laid back, kind personalities. And it appears their tiny, adorable children, Lyla Oshie and Stella Alzner, have become inseparable.
Just check out the photos and you’ll see what I mean.
Karl Alzner played in every game this season and had huge success as long as you don’t count scoring, which he is really terrible at. But appreciating Alzner’s 2015-16 puts us in conflict with ourselves: how do we explain a player who enjoys great outcomes (goal differential) without good process (puck possession)?
Let’s kick off the 2015-16 player reviews right now.
Sunday afternoon, the Washington Capitals had a group outing at Nats Park to watch the Nationals take on the Miami Marlins. Tom Wilson, Brooks Orpik, Braden Holtby, Nate Schmidt, and Karl Alzner all appeared to be in attendance with children. The Caps had a private suite.
On Thursday, the Capitals gathered at Kettler Capitals Iceplex to discuss another season that ended prematurely. The players were more visibly emotional than in years past at the annual end-of-season confab with reporters, promising Stanley Cups to the fans and articulating their frustrations with plenty of “failures” and “sucks.”
The news, however, came in the form of injuries revealed publicly for the first time. Karl Alzner’s ailment was at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Referred to by Braden Holtby as the team’s most important player, Alzner missed most of the final game with a torn groin. He played just two shifts early in the second period before being pulled from the game.
“I know that the first four games of the series, I was just out there filling a spot, Alzner said. “I was out there and I was not hurting the team I don’t think, but I also wasn’t helping in winning in the game. That’s when you know you can still do things, but once I’m getting beat up the ice trying to chase a guy and not able to at least stay in battles, that’s when you know it’s time.”
Midway through the (unspeakably horrible) second period, Karl Alzner made a shift change. It wasn’t an ordinary shift change. Alzner jumped Inside The Glass™ with Pierre McGuire, which is never a thing you want to do.
Karl Alzner missed Saturday’s morning skate with what the team is calling a “maintenance day.” Alzner missed two days of practice earlier this week but played in Thursday’s game despite being “banged up.” Skating in Alzner’s spot on the second pairing alongside Matt Niskanen was Mike Weber, though Weber stayed out late with the heathly scratches.
Dmitry Orlov looks to be healthy scratch as well following a misplay on Nick Bonino that led to a goal in the second period. Capitals coach Barry Trotz benched Orlov for the second half of the game, save for one short shift in the third period. Orlov has not missed a game all season.
Capitals defensemen Dmitry Orlov went for the big hit, hoping to take Penguins center Nick Bonino out at the blue line. Instead, Orlov missed, colliding with Nate Schmidt. Bonino was left with an unfettered path to the net. He shot the puck on Braden Holtby before Ben Lovejoy cleaned up the rebound at the midway point of Game One on Thursday, tying the score at one.
Orlov, who, like Schmidt, is playing in his first postseason in the NHL, didn’t see the ice for the rest of the game, save for a brief 25-second shift early in the third period. He finished with less than six minutes of time on ice.
Tuesday night, TJ Oshie and Karl Alzner went to the Washington Nationals game along with their wives Lauren and Mandy, both of whom are pregnant with their couples’ second children. Lauren posted a selfie that her husband TJ took on her Instagram account.