Washington 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.
There’s been a lot of movement between Montreal and Saint John’s lately and that continued on Sunday.
This time, it’s forward Daniel Carr who’ll be getting a stint with the big club.
Carr has no prior NHL experience.
The 24-year-old spent four years at Union College before joining the Canadiens organization as an undrafted free agent.
In his first season as a pro, Carr scored 24 goals (led the team) and 39 points in 76 AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2014-15.
This year, Carr has seven goals and 15 points in 20 games.
Montreal is without forwards Torrey Mitchell, Brendan Gallagher and Alexander Semin.
Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.
With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.
It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.
Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.
The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.
Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.
They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.
This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.
You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.
With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.
Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).
In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:
Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.
Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.
So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.
The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.
No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.
He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.