Capitals general manager set to commit to young defensemen

k.alzner.jpgWashington Capitals general manager George McPhee recently had some interesting observations for Caps fans to digest regarding the team’s future along the blue line as The Washington Post’s Tarik El-Bashir found out.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but McPhee pretty much said both John Carlson and Karl Alzner will be full-timers in Washington next season.

“He’s shown us enough,” McPhee said of Alzner, who scored a huge goal in the first period of Monday’s Calder Cup-clinching win and was a rock on the blue line. “He could have been in the NHL last year. But the way our team was playing last year, we didn’t want to tinker with the chemistry too much and we thought he would be better off if we kept him playing. He’s a guy we expect to be in Washington.”

Alzner, while very young still (he turns 23 in September), has been riding the D.C./Hershey express the last two seasons, playing in 21 games for the Caps this past season and 30 in the NHL the year before that. Alzner has been a steadying presence the last two years for Hershey in the AHL being a part of back-to-back Calder Cup winning teams.

“Captain America” John Carlson however got the call late in the season and in the playoffs for the Caps this year and showed that while he’s still young (he’s just 20 years-old), he’s better than a lot of what the Capitals had working for them already. Carlson averaged just over 20 minutes a game against the Canadiens in the playoffs and guys who are viewed as being “too green” (not Mike Green) won’t get that kind of work when the team needs top minutes from top players.

While some folks think that Anton Volchenkov could be on his way to Washington, having two kids like this in the pipeline ready to start in the NHL helps temper such fantasy hockey-like ideas with a welcome dose of reality.

Scroll Down For:

    Marner’s brilliant passing powers uplifting night for Leafs

    TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 15:  Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates scoring his 1st NHL goal against the Boston Bruins during an NHL game on October 15, 2016 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Bruins 4-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
    Leave a comment

    For a while, the story of the Florida Panthers – Toronto Maple Leafs game would be the remarkable march of Jonathan Marchessault.

    As great as his story remains (he gave Florida 1-0 and 2-1 leads), those pesky young Maple Leafs keep stealing the headlines.

    In tonight’s case, it was Mitch Marner who was raising eyebrows as he assisted on all three of Toronto’s goals in a 3-2 victory.

    His third assist was just sublime:

    After the game, Tyler Bozak pondered the two goals Marner helped him score and deemed the youngster “an elite player,” according to the Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle.

    Considering the growing discomfort regarding Frederik Andersen‘s play, this tweet should help to make Maple Leafs fans smile:

    Ehhhhh, Marner might deserve that first star, but the gesture means almost as much as the win.

    Also, it might help Andersen feel a little better after this happened:

    Either way, this could be the sort of win that Toronto might build upon.

    Devan Dubnyk pushes shutout streak to two games

    ST PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 15: Devan Dubnyk #40 of the Minnesota Wild defends the net against Winnipeg Jets during the game on October 15, 2016 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
    Leave a comment

    Devan Dubnyk already showed signs of having a hot start to 2016-17, but Thursday made that point abundantly clear.

    For the second straight game, Dubnyk generated a shutout, with the Minnesota Wild beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-0 in this instance.

    It’s not as if Dubnyk is just leisurely turning aside the occasional chance, either; he made 38 saves to blank Buffalo and needed to stop 65 shots on goal considering the 27 he turned aside in a 5-0 win vs. Boston.

    Ryan Suter said that Dubnyk bailed his teammates out during the second period, as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo reports.

    He’s now allowed just 10 goals in six games so far in 2016-17, with Taylor Hall‘s overtime-winner being the last shot to beat him. That came on Sunday:

    More often than not, Dubnyk’s been making those saves so far in this young season.

    Video: Another way Patrik Laine evokes Alex Ovechkin

    1 Comment

    There are plenty of differences between Alex Ovechkin and Patrik Laine, including obvious things like one being from Russia and the other from Finland.

    Still, there are moments when Laine inspires comparisons to his idol, even this early in his rookie season.

    Thursday presented one of those moments. It wasn’t just that Laine fired a 3-0 goal home for the Winnipeg Jets against the Dallas Stars with such moxie; it was also that he showed some swagger with a celebration afterward.

    This GIF captures the moment brilliantly, while you can also watch the goal in video form.

    Sure, there will be some grumbles from the “act like you’ve been here before” crowd, but this is brilliant stuff for the rest of us.

    Video: Want another booming hip check? Sean Couturier obliges

    PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 25:  Sean Couturier #14 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on against the Buffalo Sabres at Wells Fargo Center on October 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
    Leave a comment

    Early this season, Dmitry Orlov delighted onlookers and angered Matt Duchene with a mind-blowing, throwback hip check. People really seemed to enjoy it.

    While you’d struggle to top that hit, Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier must have sensed the void in checks that almost seem to flip opponents, doing so against Anthony Duclair during Thursday’s contest.

    Rate this as you will:

    Want another look at the Orlov one for comparison’s sake or to chuckle in disbelief? Why not: