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.