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Photo: Capital Hill’s @md_dc

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.

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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.

Here are the images of this year’s edition:

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Photo credit: Rob Carr

After Brooks Laich shanked a beautiful slap pass from Karl Alzner in the first period, it didn’t seem like it would be Karl’s night. But the defensive defenseman’s never-ending quest for Assist Number Nine was not over yet.

Alzner brought out his mighty excalibur again in the second period and, lo, he hooked up with Alex Ovechkin for one of the Russian Machine’s more beautiful — and unlikely — goals of the year.

Roust the smallfolk. Sir Karl has unearthed a ruby apple!

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Don Cherry warms-up the piano-desk. (Photo credit: @jessespector)

Around the same time I posted my article about Karl Alzner wigging out on the Caps bench after John Erskine‘s knockout punch of Colton Orr, Hockey Night in Canada aired another episode of Coach’s Corner.  Don Cherry also took note of Karl’s enthusiasm.

In the segment, Grapes saluted good ol’ Canadian boy Tom Wilson before giving a special shout-out to Alzner.

You’ll notice this during the video: Don really likes fights. Like really, really. And he’s on a warpath to keep fighting in hockey.

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The second period of the Friday night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs became more about face-punching than hockey — which surprises no one considering the Leafs are the Leafs and they still believe the game is decided by whose knuckles drag lower.

There were two scraps before the title bout. First, John Erskine and Dion Phaneuf traded gloved punches, an altercation that linesman Mark Shewchyk seemed to get the worst of. Second, Tom Wilson bloodied his knuckles in a fight with a player with two awful first names, Carter Ashton. I’d punch that guy for that reason alone.

But those were merely the scrumptious appetizers before the two heavyweights on the team, Erskine and Colton Orr, gave us the main course. I’ll end the lame metaphor here, but the entree was probably something meaty, with a heaping of gravy.

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Karl Alzner Scores His First Goal at Verizon Center

Alzner - Patrick McDermott

Aww! (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)

On December 6, 2008, Karl Alzner, a 20-year-old old defenseman one year removed from the WHL, scored his first NHL goal in a game in Toronto. Alzner had been picked fifth overall a year earlier by the Washington Capitals, ahead of current offensive stars like Logan Couture and PK Subban. Goals, though, have never been part of Alzner’s game. He is a pure shutdown defenseman. If Alzner hits the back of the net, it’s usually an accident. In the five years and one day since that goal, Alzner has added just four more tallies to his stat sheet.

On Saturday night against the Nashville Predators, Alzner scored his sixth career goal, a booming slap shot from the point that got through traffic and past goalie Marek Mazanec. It was his first goal ever at Verizon Center too, after six years and 148 games.

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#AlzyCelly Number Four: Karl Alzner Does… Something

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Alzner can be seen on the bottom right corner.

The Washington Capitals needed the shootout to dismiss the Montreal Canadiens tonight. Their four-game losing streak is now over. You know what that means? Celebration time!

Actually, no. It’s not. CSN failed us tonight, missing Karl Alzner‘s #AlzyCelly on the bench.

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alzner and neuvy - Patrick McDermott

Photo: Patrick McDermott

Capitals defender and everyone’s imaginary best friend forever Karl Alzner appeared on the Marek vs Wyshysnki podcast on Thursday to talk about all sorts of inane and fun things. He was his typical charming self and RMNB got name-dropped, so obviously we’re all over this.

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Joel Ward Interview-Bombs Pierre McGuire (Video)

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If the Washington Capitals were uptight before their game against hated rival Pittsburgh tonight, you wouldn’t know it watching NBCSN’s pre-game show. As everyone’s favorite sideline reporter Pierre McGuire interviews Karl Alzner, forward Joel Ward finds the camera and stares. And then stares some more.

That was 30 seconds of TV gold. Wardo, you rule.

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GIF by welshhockeyfan

Braden Holtby and Alzner celebrate a shootout victory. (Photo credit: Jonathan Kozub)

Braden Holtby and Alzner celebrate a shootout victory. (Photo credit: Jonathan Kozub)

When Mathieu Perreault was traded to the Anaheim Ducks, the Caps lost more than a talented forward. Perreault was the terrier puppy of the Washington Capitals: small, frantic, usually bouncing with joy. His post-game celebrations became A Thing. But Perreault wasn’t the one who came up with the idea. It was his buddy Karl Alzner, who was inspired by YouTube videos of Seton Hall basketball player Peter Dill. Though they both made up elaborate rituals, it was Perreault who got all the attention. So, after a while, Karl stopped trying.

“I was like ‘Man, that’d be awesome if we did that!’” the mustachioed defenseman told me Wednesday. “I said, ‘Perry, you gotta watch this! It’d be awesome if we did this after a win’” Next game, it went to a shootout. He did it, I did it, and his got a ton of attention.”

This year, though, Perreault is gone and the Capitals have won a spade of games in the shootout. Therefore, it’s been up Alzner to carry the torch. His repertoire is more advanced than Perreault’s, with Alzner featuring distinct celebrations this year: Bow and Arrow, Thor’s Hammer, and the Hulk Hogan.

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