Friday, April 25, 2008

Alzner Likely Turning Pro... But When?

With the Calgary Hitmen recently eliminated from the WHL playoffs, Caps prospect Karl Alzner has likely played his last game as a junior, as he is expected to turn pro before next season. How far before, however, depends on Alzner and the Hershey Bears, it seems. Per the Calgary Herald:
Karl Alzner was wiping the sleep out of his eyes Thursday morning when the phone rang.

It was the Washington Capitals and they wanted their 19-year-old, first-round selection of 2007 to report to their Hershey farm club for a playoff game . . . immediately.

"I thought about it for a little bit, but every bone in my body aches and I'm fighting a bit of a flu bug or something, so I'm really not feeling that well," the Calgary Hitmen's all-star defenceman said as he cleaned out his locker during the noon hour at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

"Right now, I'm just trying to get everything out of my mind, relaxing and wanting to clear off all the thoughts that I have."

If Hershey can find a way out of its 1-3 playoff hole, Alzner said he'd be ready to go, but you can bet the unsigned nominee for Western Hockey League top defenceman and player of the year awards will be in the Capitals organization for the start of next season.
So the Caps wanted him in Hershey yesterday and he passed? Chalk it up to bad timing, I suppose. It's unfortunate, because I'm sure Alzner, the Bears, their fans and Caps fans would have loved to see the organization's top prospect in action, even if just for one game.

To further whet your appetite, the Calgary Sun has more praise for Alzner as he leaves town for the professional ranks:
Alzner has nothing left to prove at the junior level.

He has, or will, win every individual honour that is available to him.

If he was under contract and the Capitals were still in the playoffs, there'd be a chance he'd make his NHL debut in the next few days.

He's that ready, that complete of a player.

And he's just as good when he takes the skates off. Diplomatic, a consumate leader and a young player who refuses to use cliches, Alzner will be a quote machine with the Caps for years to come.
Damn. Is it next season yet?

UPDATE: Perhaps we have our answer on the "when."

30 comments:

~Mark said...

This seems a little unorthodox to me. So you sign, report, and get scratched if you're ill/hurt.
Doesn't sound urgent, which is a bit of a concern. What's he going to wait and see how game 5 goes, and then make a decision? Wouldn't he have a Visa delay as well?
Maybe I'm missing something, but feeling tired and under the weather seems trivial for a guy who should be pumped to turn pro.

FAUX RUMORS said...

1)Wonder IF the caps were still playing, and now knowing how badly 3 of their defensemen were, if Alzner would have played his first pro game in DC!
2) Playing in one AHL elimination game with unknown team mates isn't going to further along his development all that much.
3) Have to take him at his word that he isn't feeling well enough to contribute.

~Mark said...

I think maybe I'm just so used to seeing hockey players give until there's no more hockey to play, I am a little surprised. Maybe they told him not to worry about coming unless the second round looks realistic.

pplc said...

JP,
You don't really give an opinion on this. So...what is it?

JP said...

Since you asked... I'm not worried about it in the slightest. The kid, from all accounts, has the greatest attitude in the history of mankind. Unless and until I hear otherwise, I don't think there's much "there" there, other than the good news that the Caps think he's ready to make an impact at the pro level immediately.

If the Bears rally, win the series and two weeks from now Alzner still has a tummy ache and isn't interested in reporting to Chocolatetown, I'll reconsider my position.

Brian said...

If Alzner is ready to go next year, and Pothier is done, that still leaves 8 defensemen + Lepisto + Boumedienne + Mightly Joe Finley ... I see the last three in Hershey next year but someone might step up over the summer ... I would hate to see Eminger leave, he really played well when needed.

Brian (the rant formerly known as Oly_For_Olie)

jh said...

How many junior seasons has Alzner played? I thought there was the agreement with the CHL that if a guy doesn't play on the NHL team he had to be returned to junior. Does Alzner fit that category where he has actually used up his eligibility? Because I think it would be a waste if he had to stay with the Caps but couldn't play a lot of minutes. Or do they really think he can make an impact next year? Until the Hawks won last years draft lottery, I wanted Alzner the most at their original draft spot (5).

~Mark said...

From the competition:
http://www.onfrozenblog.com/2008/04/25/reinforcements-for-the-farm/
Alzner is reporting to Choco-town!

Tyler said...

Alzner is, in junior terms, 'overage.'

JP said...

Thanks for the link, Mark.

And there's no competition.

pplc said...

JP

Totally agree about the no competition thing. Both sites, most bloggers for that manner, provide different and extremely valuable perspectives. We appreciate you all.

Rage said...

Anyone have a recommendation on where I can follow the Bears/Pens score tonight via blackberry on my way home from NYC?

b80vin said...

Phew. That is nothing but good news that Alzner is reporting. I would be more than a little disappointed if he called in sick. That's the lamest thing I've ever heard from someone who wants to be a pro. No "there" there? C'mon JP. You just listed the ailments that some of our regs were playing with in the last month or so. Missing your possible first game as a pro in a playoff series, accepting a challenge and challenging yourself is exactly what we need, not "I feel icky".

b80vin said...

Oh, and to the commentist formerly known as Oly_for_Ollie: Welease Bwian! (cause, you know, it's like Unleash the fury, kind of and...yeah).

Brian said...

@b80vin

I was thinking of "The Holy Grail" myself ...

"They call me ... Brian?"

Tyler said...

I for one couldn't care less if the kid shows up in Hershey or doesn't.

Who cares? Hershey is down 3-1. Hershey is an AHL team, one for whom Alzner may never play anyway. I can see lots of potential downside to a WHL-playoffs-exhausted, jet-lagged 19-year-old showing up in Wilkes-Barre to play in an effectively meaningless game. (I can see lots of downside to being in Wilkes-Barre for any reason at any age or any time, but that's another matter entirely.)

I can see no upside.

b80vin said...

Yeah, Tyler, I get that too. But it's not about the contribution- I don't care if he plays or not- it's about the effort and dedication. I just wanted him to be hungry enough to show up. Which he did, so the point is moot, I guess...But then I'm pretty old, so I'm used to that.

Scai said...

rage: You might wanna try mobile.theahl.com

Scott said...

question - if he wanted, could Ovie go down to play for Hershey? He's still in his first 3 years of his contract, right? Can't be claimed or any of that crap, right? Just like Fehr?

Tyler said...

OMG. Someone please make rookie camp happen now.

(Speaking of which, when is it? Anyone remember when it was last year?)

Bowler said...

I agree with Tyler! Bring it on, man!!! Last summer 2007 it was in early July. I believe.

Eric H. said...

Yep. Here's JP's entry: http://japersrink.blogspot.com/2007/07/summer-camp-information.html

Summer "development" Camp

Eric H. said...

Sorry. Here.

Anonymous said...

no alzner this year

noonan said...

are there any good mock drafts out there, any predictions for the caps. i know theyll be in the middle somewhere, is there a list that ranks n.a. and european skaters together? thanks

Anonymous said...

What is this rush to get Alzner to Washington? If he's ready, he'll come. If he isn't, tee ess.

Bowler said...

Mock drafts?

Here.

Here?vwzgsasf

Anonymous said...

I don't think he could play anyway because I believe he hasn't signed?

b.orr4 said...

Well Hershey was eliminated last night, so I guess we won't see Alzner until the July mini camp.

Samooo said...

Did anyone see anywhere an explanation of what ailed Ovie at the end? A foot issue? Any details anywhere? Or is this forever locked in "lower body" obscurity?