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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.