Karl Alzner 'fired up' about Capitals' changes

Karl Alzner 'fired up' about Capitals' changes
July 17, 2014, 3:00 pm
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(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

A lot has changed since the Capitals last gathered as a group at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on April 14.

Head coach Adam Oates and defensive assistant Calle Johansson have been replaced by Barry Trotz and Todd Reirden. General manager George McPhee has been replaced by his assistant, Brian MacLellan.

And the Caps’ blue line has undergone a major facelift with the pricey additions of Brooks Orpik [five years, $5.5 million per] and Matt Niskanen [seven years, $5.75 million per].

All of which has Caps defenseman Karl Alzner excited about coming to training camp in mid-September.

Alzner was a guest on Toronto's Sportsnet 590 on Wednesday and, to no one’s surprise, the Capitals’ prince of positivity gave a ringing endorsement of every move the Caps have made this summer.

"I'm fired up about it,” Alzner said when asked about the upgrade on the blue line. “I think we have, on paper right now, one of the deepest blue lines, so I'm happy about that.

"You know that you have to pay players to get them sometimes and we're happy, I'm happy, for all the guys whenever they can get a good paycheck and that's great. So if we're going to have to pay guys numbers that other people don't necessarily agree with and we want that player and need that player, then it doesn't matter to us - you've just got to get them.

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“And if they're going to help us win, pay each one of those guys $10 million a year if we're going to win next year. So it doesn't bother me one bit. You've got to do what you've got to do. I think these are two good signings, two good players for us to have and yeah, I'm just hoping it can help change our team a little bit."

If there is one thing abundantly clear in the Capitals’ moves this offseason it is that they are following owner Ted Leonsis’ directive to “refresh” and not rebuild under Trotz, who gained respect around the NHL for making the low-budget Nashville Predators a competitive team every season.  

"I think it's going to be great,” Alzner said. “He's been known as a big-time defensive guy, which is great for me. I like that. It's going to play right into my style of game.

“Nothing against Nashville, but we're a team that spends to the cap and pay a lot of high-flying offensive guys that love to score goals. I don't know exactly what his mentality is now with that, but it could change people's perspective and thoughts on him.

“Maybe he's not just a defensive guy and he wants to show a little bit of flair as well in his coaching style and we'd be the right type of team for that. But when it comes to defense, I'm excited about this because that is one of the knocks on us. We've let in too many goals.

“Hopefully he can help stabilize our team and we can start winning games 2-1 and 3-2 instead of having to be up in that 4-3, 5-4 range all of the time and getting into all of these shootouts like we did last year. Everything I've heard about him has been nothing but positive."

Alzner also informed Sportsnet’s hosts that he and his wife, Mandy, are expecting their first child in mid-December.