So last night I was out on the web checking the Hershey Bears game two boxscore and noticed that Karl Alzner and Tyler Sloan both did not play in a 3-1 Bears win (Gives them a 2-0 lead over the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins in their best of seven series). I then found an article by Tim Leone of the Patriot-News that said they were scratched due to illness. I then emailed John Walton, Hershey Director of Communications, congratulating the Bears on the win, pointed out those illnesses since it was their top defensive pairing, and also that I was happy to see the Caps 1st round pick in the 2008 NHL Enry Draft, John Carlson (played for Dale Hunter for the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey Leauge this season), scored a goal in the win. Walton, of course, did not comment on Alzner and Sloan (and he should not have, so kudos to him).
N0w we know that neither Alzner nor Sloan are “ill”, they were on the ice today at Kettler Ice Plex for the morning skate, and with John Erskine banged up and Jeff Schultz already hurt they were emergency recalls. Here is a link to the write-up from Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post on this one:
As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am a big Alzner fan and believe he would have been up with the Caps all season if not for his salary cap number ($1.6M+). I agree with Tarik that the Penguins are much faster than the Rangers and the Caps need to do a better job of keeping pace with Pittsburgh. Washington gave the puck away too many times on Saturday. Their defense had a hard time of getting to the red line and dumping the puck in Pittsburgh’s zone, the strategy that Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau wants to employ. Alzner is faster and could really help the defense in this regard, if he is NHL ready. He’s been down in the AHL since mid February so he may be rusty. It will be interesting to see how this plays out tonight. The Caps, as a team, need to focus on getting the puck deep in Pittsburgh’s end where they can go in and try and outwork the Penguins defense. That is the key to getting a win in game two tonight.