Now, Alzner will face a new challenge: playing against his old teammates at Capital One Arena.
“We’ve talked about it in the room a little bit here here,” Alzner said. “The guys are saying that it’s a pretty tough place to play so I’m curious to see what it’s like from the other side.
Alzner, though, does not want the attention be on him tonight.
“I don’t want to bring too much attention to it, especially in the room there is more important things than me coming back here to play,” Alzner said. “You know? I am just going to keep to myself and do what I normally do. If guys bring it up, then I will talk about it but I will do my best to not put any attention on myself because I don’t like a whole lot of that.”
A full transcript of the interview is below.
Karl Alzner: It’s kinda fun to see it from the other side. A lot of guys were asking questions about here in the area. I guess a lot of guys didn’t even know this practice rink was here. It’s kinda fun to have some of the answers for everybody. Still pretty familiar, still fresh, so it’s not too awkward yet.
Tough to turn the page after all the years?
Karl Alzner: It definitely would’ve been tough wherever you go. You’re here for a few years. But because we had pretty thick roots here. It was a little strange. But the nice thing is that there’s still so many familiar faces over there. The nice thing about hockey is there’s so many guys that are so similar, and it’s easy to transition between groups of different guys, so the guys in Montreal made it super easy for me.
Do you think you’ll need to manage your emotions [Saturday] night?
Karl Alzner: I assume, yeah, but I haven’t really thought about it a whole lot yet. It would be nice if this game wasn’t the second game of the season so that we could work out a few of the kinks and so that we were a well-oiled machine coming in here. But there’s a lot of things that I’m going to be focusing on with just playing the right way so it’s going to be hard to focus on all the stuff behind the scenes. So hopefully it’s not going to come into play but I imagine once I get into the rink it’ll be a little strange.
Anxious to face Ovechkin?
Karl Alzner: I am actually. We’ve talked about it in the room a little bit here here, the guys are saying that it’s a pretty tough place to play so I’m curious to see what it’s like from the other side. Luckily I know a lot of the sneaky little plays and stuff, unless things have changed, so I’m hoping I can use that to keep them at bay as much as possible, but I saw what happened last night so I know how hard it can be. So it’ll be fun to see how we stack up.
Usually when a player is traded the former tendencies know their tendencies. Do your former teammates know your tendencies?
Karl Alzner: [laughs] I don’t have many tendencies, I wish I did.
In this matchup, who gets the advantage – the defensemen or the forwards?
Karl Alzner: That’s a good question. I don’t know. Forwards are so good and so crafty that they seem to change and adapt to whatever. I’ve just got to adapt on the fly whenever they decide to do something funky out there. I hope it’s going to be pretty even. I like to think that it’s going to be something good for me, and hopefully something not to o good for them. But it’ll be what it is.
Thinking back to DC, how do you balance your successful career vs disappointments of not finishing the job?
Karl Alzner: If I never end up winning it’ll be one of the things I look back on, having that many good teams and opportunities and never winning. But that’s how it is. You don’t get to win every year, some people don’t get to win at all. It’ll be something to look back on, but I’m not going to dwell on it when it’s all over. But I had a lot of really good memories here. Those are the things I’ll take back, the memories that we had in the room, on the ice, away from the rink.
Are you keeping your house here?
Karl Alzner: Not anymore, no. I think we have it sold now, so that’s kinda nice. I don’t have to worry about that.
Anxious about winning this game? Your demeanor seems concerned?
Karl Alzner: I don’t feel too anxious. It’s important to win. You just want to do your best for your team. I don’t want to go out there and not live up to whatever’s expected and I want to be able to contribute to a win. If that changes how I am, then I guess so. In the end it’s gonna be another game. I’ve got so many things to focus on with the team and system and all that stuff. I want to work out those kinks.
Yesterday was a hard game. It’s a tough game to put all those things into play. Buffalo came very, very fast. Lots of pressure, a lot of movement. The game was a little more chopped up than we’d like, so it’s coming. It’s going to take a little bit of time, but we have seen some good progress.
Is it tough to manage your emotions? Is it tough to shake your body’s return from last year?
Karl Alzner: You know what, I actually haven’t. I haven’t talked about it at all. I don’t want to bring too much attention to it, especially in the room there is more important things than me coming back here to play. You know? I am just going to keep to myself and do what I normally do. If guys bring it up, then I will talk about it but I will do my best to not put any attention on myself because I don’t like a whole lot of that.
Does your career flash before your eyes when you walk into a place like this as a visitor knowing all the years you spent here?
Karl Alzner: Yeah, a little bit. I start to think about some of the stuff. That’s the funny thing about coming back here. Where you talk to us is where a lot of the prospect camps are. I have sat in this exact corner next to Grant McNeill my first camp and I remember being in awe. You know, like Grant McNeill, he’s a pretty rough individual. So, it’s kind of funny you start back at square one over here and you think about some of the things. It’s just another page. I have had a lot of time to reflect in the summer and I am on to a new chapter.
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