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Bears' Alzner Expects to Return Tonight

Hershey defenseman Karl Alzner said this morning that he expects to return to the lineup tonight after missing the past four weeks with a concussion.

"As far as I know, I'm playing tonight," Alzner said following the morning skate here at Giant Center, where the Bears are set to host the Manitoba Moose in Game 3 of the Calder Cup finals. "It's been too long. I don't feel too rusty, maybe the lungs a little bit. But I'm excited to be back."

Alzner, who is expected to be a full-timer with the Caps next season, suffered the concussion -- the first of his professional career -- in the second round when he got caught with a shoulder in open ice.

At first, Alzner said, he thought he might miss a few days. But days turned into weeks after a couple of setbacks, for which he accepted all the blame, conceding that he pushed himself too hard too early.

"It was really frustrating because I would get symptoms from not really doing anything," he said. "I didn't know how bad the symptoms had to be for me to back off from things. But I found out pretty quick that if there are any symptoms, you have to back off."

Fortunately for Alzner and the Caps, he said the concussion was of the "mild" variety and he did not have to see a specialist. He will, however, wear a "very expensive" mouth guard designed specifically to cut down on the chances of a second concussion.

But the mouth guard, Alzner said, is all he plans to change.

"A lot of guys who have had concussions, they've said that they overthink their concussions," he added. "And every time they have a headache or they feel dizzy for a second, they say, 'Oh no, maybe that's a concussion.' But I don't want to take that approach. I just want to play my game."

The series, by the way, is tied 1-1.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  June 6, 2009; 12:39 PM ET
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Next: Another Coaching Staff Change For Caps


Glad Alzners back and feeling better!!


Posted by: mrszilla | June 6, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Glad as well that Alzner should be back tonight!

Going to the game as a birthday present tonight, so hoping for a good win :)

I have a question about Alzner though. When he was called up to the Caps during playoffs, was this when he had his concussion?? If so, I am assuming it was to get the atmospheric experience of NHL playoffs..right?? (So, Sloan was going to be in all along).

Go Bears!

Posted by: The_Stanley_Caps | June 6, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Ugh, you people are so lucky, you get to see Neuvy. I want to see Neuvy. :(

Posted by: rachel216 | June 6, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I tried to go to the Bears game but my brother's vehicle broke down near Dover, DE. Guess who has the tickets. I made it to Gettysburg before I turned back.

Posted by: uncatim | June 6, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I think Alzner's concussion happened his first or second game back with the Bears after the callup. I know he played at least one game after he was sent down (and Sloan stayed up).

Posted by: tess2201 | June 6, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Correct me if I am wrong, but I am pretty sure Alzner saw no ice time in his call-up.

Posted by: richmondphil | June 6, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

You are right, Phil. Alzner did not play at all for the Caps in the playoff. And not to question Alzner's memory or Tarik's reporting, but the stats list him as having played 6 playoff games for the Bears, and we swept the Phantoms in the first round, so Alzner must have played some second round games. So either he didn't get hurt till the second round, or he was hurt earlier and tried to play through it.

Posted by: tess2201 | June 6, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to all the support on picking the Wings over the Penguins.

Why isn't there anything on your minor league team? The South Carolina Stingrays just won the Victoria Cup last night!

Posted by: hockeytownUSA | June 6, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Wow, no congratulations to the Stingrays? 3rd Kelly Cup championship! It would've been really something if we had made it to the Cup finals. ECHL, AHL and their NHL team in their respected championships? That would've been legendary.

Posted by: Osfan092589 | June 6, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

It sucks to see your top prospect get even a mild concussion. Let's hope it doesn't linger and that he has a healthy first full season with the Caps.

Posted by: tmac2yao | June 6, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see Alzner back. He's such a sweet kid (and a great prospect). I met him after a few Caps practices and he treats me better than my own teenage daughter does. (LOL)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | June 6, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse


Alzner saw no ice time with the Caps. Only Sloan did, among our callups. (I guess our D-men, as injured as they were, didn't want to sit out.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | June 6, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

congrats to the Stingrays!! Who do we have there that has a legitimate shot at making the Caps? Wellar? Lacroix? Morin? Seabrook? Pokulok?

Posted by: Andoy | June 6, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I think that Josh Godfrey has a chance to be a Cap someday. Not so sure about Pokulok (14th overall pick a few years ago), we'll see what the Caps decide to do. Should be an interesting camp with a lot of Hershey guys breaking into the lineup next year. Some guys on the Stingray roster will be battling too.

Posted by: reesem37 | June 6, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Bears up 1-0 at the end of the first period. GO BEARS!!! (BTW, there's a new thread.)

Posted by: wocoliz | June 6, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

I hope he turns out to be a great defenseman, God knows this team need one desperately. However the last time the Caps had any luck drafting defensemen high was in the early 1990's (Gonchar and Witt). And that was when David Poile was in charge. McPhee got lucky with Green in the second round but the history has shown that top-notch NHL defensemen always get drafted high in the first round. We can only hope Alzner turns out to be one of them and not someone like John Slaney.

Posted by: joek443 | June 6, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Yea Bears!! Shutout for Neuvy!!

Posted by: NovaCath | June 6, 2009 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Green was a late first-round pick. He was the 29th pick. The Caps acquired the pick from the Detroit Red Wings when they traded Robert Lang. Flash was the other half of the compensation.

Posted by: RedBirdie | June 7, 2009 11:19 PM | Report abuse

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