Happy Birthday Karl Alzner!
Not sure what's going on at this birthday party but it looks like the guys are havin' a good time. (Photo credit before photoshopping to Chris Gordon)
Drafted fifth overall by the Washington Capitals in 2007, Karl Alzner began his NHL career already something of a quiet star. In junior hockey, he captained two Team Canada gold medal teams in the World Junior Hockey Championship. Not to mention his distinction as both the Western Hockey League’s best player AND the Canadian Hockey League’s top defenseman in 2008 — both junior hockey accolades. Now in the big leagues for a couple of seasons he’s — once again quietly — earned the title of “shutdown defenseman” among the fans and media of the Capitals. He may have not have scoring as one of his formidable weapons, but his responsible and cool-headed defense makes him just as dangerous to the opposition.
Those are just the facts. Today is his 24th birthday!
I have a Karl Alzner story to share. At last year’s Capitals Convention — a misty memory to be sure as this year’s was cancelled — he and John Carlson rocked the mic during the kids’ press conference. My son, as had done the year before, got up to ask a question. He asked what advice the two defensemen could give a seven year old hockey player who like to play defense. Their answer was to be expected: enjoy yourself. I mean, hockey shouldn’t be high pressure for Mites-level players. But he wasn’t looking for that advice — we tell him that every practice and game. He wanted to hear what pearl of wisdom that two top-six defensemen could offer. So, rather than sit down and be disappointed, he stayed at the mic and clarified his question. This time, after chuckling as my son’s doggedness, Karl Alzner told him to always be talking on the ice. That is a wonderful piece of advice — one that my son has remembered and takes to heart. Always a talker, my son channels that impulse into communicating with players and coaches. He has the birthday boy to thank for that.
I should add that Karl Alzner is a big supporter of my TeamCaps by @nazarcruce t-shirts — he and John Carlson each own a Carlzner tee — something that I appreciate greatly. Which reminds me, we get to see the great defensive pairing of Karl Alzner and John Carlson (Carlzner) for a couple more years. If this weren’t the bearded one’s birthday, I’d say that was reason enough to celebrate. But it is. Happy Birthday, Karl!
Alzner's first ever NHL fight
Alzner's first and only goal during the 2011-2012 season. This was the only goal in the match against the Oilers. Before heading into Edmonton as you may remember, the Capitals were 7-0. Alzner's goal a turning point? Insert conspiracy theory here.
Last but not least, Karl channeling his Canadian pantomime talents towards one Milan Lucic from the Boston Bruins.