Caps’ Alzner thought Olympic invite was trade call

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When Karl Alzner got a voicemail from Doug Armstrong on Sunday, he thought it was in Armstrong’s capacity as GM of the St. Louis Blues, informing Alzner of a trade.

What Alzner didn’t expect was a call from Armstrong on behalf of Team Canada’s Olympic selection group.

“I thought at first that I got traded,” Alzner told Metro Vancouver of the call informing him he’d been named one of 17 defenseman named to the orientation camp. “My jaw dropped. I was thinking ‘is he seriously calling me?’

“It was a pinch-me moment.”

Alzner, 24, earned his camp invite on the strength of a solid 2013 campaign. He set a career-high for average time on ice per game (20:57) and upped it to 22:18 in the playoffs, where the Caps lost in the opening round to the Rangers.

Washington’s No. 5 overall pick at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Alzner finished second on the team in blocked shots last year (85) and fourth among all defensemen in hits (45).

In addition to the Team Canada invite, Alzner was also rewarded financially this summer.

The former WHL Calgary standout earned himself a four-year, $11.2 extension from the Caps, a nice bump from his previous two-year, $2.57 million deal.

While he’s a longshot to make Team Canada for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi — defense is arguably the country’s deepest position — Alzner is thrilled with just the opportunity to participate in the selection process.

“I’m not even on the (Olympic) team. I’m just on their radar,” he said. “There’s no better feeling.”