One half of the fabled Carlzner defensive pairing, Karl Alzner was sent to shut down the Caps’ toughest opponents all year. Plus: puppies and the best bench celebrations you’ve seen since that other guy.
But what of the Caps’ Swedes? After winning a silver medal in Sochi, Marcus Johansson will likely not represent his home country due to a broken arm. On Thursday, Pär Mårts, Sweden’s national team coach, told Svenska Dagbladet that Nicklas Backstrom has turned down an invitation to play in the tournament this year.
When asked why, Mårts said Backstrom won’t be playing “for family reasons.”
On Monday, the Washington Capitals held Breakdown Day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. For two hours, Caps players filed out of the locker room and conducted exit interviews with the media. Because of the whole no playoffs thing, there were a lot of long faces.
There’s about three hours of interview video to surf though on Monumental Network. Because I hate myself and care only about you, dear reader, I’ve transcribed all the key quotes. And because this is RMNB, I also pointed out the fashion choices. Sadly, there was no crazy hair this year.
After missing the playoffs for the first time in seven years, most Caps players were resigned when they spoke to the media after the game. However, the team’s annual Jerseys Off Our Backs ceremony added a little levity to an otherwise despondent day.
In particular, one member of the Capitals staff was skating around the ice wearing Google Glass, presumably filming the proceedings on them. Karl Alzner, though, wanted a try. As other players were giving away their sweaty garb, Karl tried on the gizmo wiz-bang for himself.
We’ll add the video to this post when it’s published, but for now take a look at some of my photos.
The Caps are bad at defense and give up a lot of odd-man breaks. Even when they win, Washington can’t hide that flaw. One aspect of that is particularly troubling: the amount of rushes they allow on their own power play.
The Capitals man-advantage has kept them afloat all year, generating about a third of their offense. However, against the Stars their PP could barely get going. Dallas had two breakaways on Washington’s opening power play, which was quickly negated by a John Carlson slash.
“Usually odd-man rushes are our breakdowns, not necessarily great plays by them,” Carlson said after the game. “We can’t let that happen. We’re too good of players.”
Wednesday night, the Washington Capitals held their fourth annual Casino Night at the Pentagon City Sheraton. Fans had the opportunity blow fake money gambling with their favorite players, as well as dishing out real money on a live auction featuring big-ticket experiences, a silent auction on equipment and memorabilia, and a raffle. The money made from Casino Night will benefit the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation. The team has raised nearly $1 million on past Casino Nights, and the live auction this year took in over $40,000.
“We did a got of research on craps,” Karl Alzner, who was there with his wife Mandy as well as her mom and grandparents, told me. “The correct throw and the technique and all that.”
“Even though it’s play money it’s still a lot of fun,” Alzner added. “We get to dress up.”
When I talked to Tom Wilson about the night, he had one main takeaway.
“Ovi’s pretty risky,” Wilson said.
Below, take a look at some of my photos from the night.
If the Caps squeak into the playoffs, you might have to thank Karl Alzner. Not for his defense — something a bit lacking on the Caps lately — but his offense. With 10:15 left in an important game against the Phoenix Coyotes, Karl unleashed a wrist shot from the near point, which went through traffic before beating Mike Smith over his right shoulder. Though Washington looked lifeless for the first 50 minutes, that goal ignited an incredible comeback, featuring two goals in 32 seconds and two points in the standings.
“I was excited,” Alzner told reporters after the game. “Everyone seemed really excited. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it was me who scored it and not a guy who normally scores, but people seemed really up after that. It was the perfect momentum swing and the perfect line to come out right after that. It was the perfect storm for us.”
According to local residents interviewed by NBC 4, cars speed through the area all the time. One of those locals was Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner, who wants speed bumps added to slow traffic down. The TV crew didn’t seem to know who he was.
Saturday morning was a time for ceremonial hockey hardware to be awarded. Team Finland beat John Carlson and the US to take home the Bronze Medal in Sochi. Also, Troy Brouwer received some ridiculous 100 balloons from the Brouwer Rangers. About that last thing: on February 8, Brouwer netted his 100th NHL with an empty netter against the New Jersey Devils. With the Caps back from the Olympic break, Troy’s fan club presented him with his gift.
On January 29, 2014, In News, Photos, By Chris Gordon
This makes an excellent creepy wallpaper. Click to enlarge. (Photos by Patrick McDermott)
In 2008, the Washington Capitals launched Courage Caps, a program to benefit military charities through the sale of team-branded hats and shirts. This year the program will fund TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, which provides support for families of killed American solders.
This year’s Courage Caps promotion will formally launch on February 4, when the team will put the merchandise on sale online as well at Verizon Center and Kettler. The day before, Jack Hillen will skate with some families the program has helped.
On Wednesday, the Caps sent us some photos of the new gear. Now in its seventh year, Courage Caps is starting to run out of military themes, but I think winter digi-camo look is a good one.
The chosen models, however, is where we’ll have our fun. Everything starts off well with John Carlson, the team’s resident US Olympian. Next in the gallery are Karl Alzner and Nicklas Backstrom, two of Washington’s most docile heartthrobs and noted not-Americans. I would gone with maybe an angry Casey Wellman, a Californian, draped only in an American flag. Or maybe Connor Carrick, feeding a Nathan’s hot dog to a bald eagle. Either way, it’s all for a good cause.