Defenseman Karl Alzner hasn’t been a Capital since the 2016-17 season, but his connection to his team still runs deep. The Montreal Canadiens failed to make the playoffs last season, but Alzner didn’t let his own postseason disappointment stop him from following his friends’ journey.
“It was interesting for me because it was two completely different sets of emotions,” Alzner said in an interview with Tim Wharnsby for the NHLPA. “At first you want to feel you were a big part of the team, and you don’t want to think that they were about to have more success without you.”
Like many players, Alzner doesn’t usually watch playoffs if he’s not in them. But after a short vacation to Europe after his early start to the summer, he tuned back in.
“That team has 15 of my closest friends and I was happy for them,” Alzner said. “It was a roller coaster of emotions. But the way I saw it was when do you get a chance to see 15 of your closest friends realize their dream.”
Alzner, like many Capitals’ players and fans, had grown frustrated after years of disappointing early exits. When he was signed with Montreal he was optimistic about getting to “the promised land” with a different franchise.
But even though things didn’t turn out the way he anticipated, the nine years he spent with the Capitals meant a lot to him. “It was the first time I was happy to see a team that I wasn’t on, win,” Alzner said.
He was especially happy for his former captain, Alex Ovechkin. “This was the one accomplishment Ovie needed to cement his legacy,” Alzner said.
This season has not gotten off to an auspicious start for the 30-year-old. His healthy scratch in early October–the night of the Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony–broke his 622 game iron man streak.
Karl Alzner being a healthy scratch on the Capitals’ Stanley Cup banner raising night is just a punch the gut while you’re recovering from that kick to the groin. I feel for the guy.
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) October 3, 2018
Alzner is taking inspiration from his friends’ success, saying he now has “a little extra edge to compete. It’s why we’re here.”
Headline photo: Patrick McDermott
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