Welcome to Caps 'Round the Clock, a blog covering the Washington Capitals and the NHL. In season, I update the Blog after every practice and on game day with Caps news and information, and then provide a recap and analysis after each contest. I also write a periodical Prospect Watch and weekly feature pieces on the state of the Men in Red and other things Capitals. And of course, I will post videos and tidbits from around the League and offer my two cents as the season wears on. In the offseason, I write a Report Card for each player, and will keep you updated on all the news about the Caps through the summer. I'm glad you're here, and hope you come back!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Report Card: Karl Alzner

In a rare turn of events, Alzner lets it rip against Ottawa.
Today I bring you the eighteenth installment in my "Report Card" series, as I continue my evaluation of each Capital throughout this past regular season and playoffs.  Today's player is defenseman Karl Alzner, who finished his third season within the organization this year.

Stats/Season Summary: Alzner played in all 82 games this year, one of only three Caps to do so.  In those 82 games, he tallied two goals, ten assists, a +14 rating, and 24 penalty minutes.  For almost all of the season, Alzner played on the top defensive pairing with John Carlson and had a breakout season in almost all respects.  Though his defensive partner, John Carlson, did most of the offense, Alzner proved his value as a defensive defenseman and blocked 132 shots, good for third on the team.  He also played big minutes on the penalty kill, helping DC vastly improve that part of their game.  In other words, he was great. Grade: A-
Role Play: His entire career, Alzner has not generated much offense but has instead focused on defense; this year, he brought that to the Caps in spades. Alzner used his size and skating ability very well throughout the year to cut off skating and passing lanes, block shots, and in general, just play good, sound defense.  He was cool and calm on the back end as well, rarely panicking, and he never looked out of place, simply remarkable for someone of his age, especially when you consider the minutes he played against the other team's top players. He exceeded all expectations for him. Grade: A
Playoffs: Alzner played in all nine playoff games, but struggled; he only recorded one assist and posted a -4 rating.  He did not take any penalties in the postseason, but in general was not very good.  He played okay during the Rangers series, but against Tampa he was generally lost.  This probably had something to do with the fact that John Carlson was injured and was either not able to play his normal minutes or was severely limited, but nevertheless he was not very good.  That being said, it's not like the collapse was mainly his fault. Grade: C
Future Potential: A restricted free agent, Alzner is 1-A on the "must-have" list among free agents this offseason behind Brooks Laich.  He and Carlson are a perfect match, and I am of the very strong opinion that they make each other better, which is why it is so essential that Washington holds on to him.  He is going to be a very good shutdown defenseman for a long time, and if the Caps ever win a Stanley Cup, he is going to be a big part of it. Grade: A

The next report card will be posed on May 30th and will feature winger Mike Knuble.

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