Capitals breakdown: Karl Alzner

Capitals breakdown: Karl Alzner
May 23, 2012, 3:17 pm
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CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley willevaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Caps roster. Onebreakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: Karl Alzner
Karl AlznerPosition: DefenseAge: 23HtWt: 6-3, 213Games: 82Goals: 1Assists: 16Points: 17Penalty Minutes: 29Plus-Minus: Plus-12Average Ice Time: 20:52Contract Status: RFA in 2013 (1.285 million cap hit in2012-13)Strengths: From start to finish, Alzner was the Capitalsbest and most reliable defenseman this season. Including the playoffs he playedin all 96 games and saw his ice time jump from 20:52 in the regular season to ateam-high 24:53 in the playoffs. In just two full NHL seasons Alzner has cementeda reputation as one of the NHLs best young shutdown defensemen. Hes also astrong locker room presence.Weaknesses: Honestly, its tough to find many holes inAlzners game. He could use a little more strength to combat opposing powerforwards around his net and in the corners, but outside of that, he is a defensiverock on the blue line.Memorable Moment (on the ice): On Jan. 13 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Alzner engaged in his first NHL fight with Steve Downie. Alzner connected with his first punch, a hard right toDownies cheek, then absorbed a couple punches, including one on his rightcheek as the two were tumbling to the ice. On the way down he gave me a shot that you can see on myface, Alzner said. I should have expected that. I should have had my handsup. That happens sometimes and thats what my words were.Memorable Moment (off the ice): On May 3, while Alzner was logging 37:14 of ice time in the Capitals' 2-1 triple overtime loss to the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, his two dogs, who were left uncrated, ransacked his house, prompting one of the funniest tweet photos of the playoffs.2012-13 Expectations: No matter who is coach next season, itsa safe bet Alzner will be on the Capitals top defensive pairing. He seemed tobe a perfect complement to John Carlson in the playoffs and with some addedstrength in the offseason he should be quietly dominant again. With Alznerentering a contract year it would not be a surprise to see the Capitalsnegotiate a long-term extension for the native of Burnaby, British Columbia.