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Alzner Sent Down

Also, defenseman Karl Alzner has been sent to Hershey, according to a team spokesman. I'll get Coach Bruce Boudreau's reaction/reason for the move when practice is over.

Alzner was a healthy scratch in Tampa Bay on Saturday after a rough game at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 17, 2009; 10:51 AM ET
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Next: Beagle Sent Down, Kozlov Out Tomorrow


Cue the "nooooo!!!!!!" calls.

Posted by: Section117 | February 17, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

It used to be unheard of to have a 20 year old Dman playing at the NHL level. With the "new" NHL...I guess its not gonna be the case anymore. But I still worry that you can kill the kids confidence if hes up to early. Hope Alzer doesnt become one of those cases. Eventually I think this kid is gonna be great. Hope the Caps can wait for him.

Posted by: thd1 | February 17, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I'm thinking this Kronwall dude has a lot to live up to now.

Posted by: caryh | February 17, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Japers' Rink discussed this. I smell a couple of things possibly in the works, and let the speculation begin!

(1) We've got eight D, and Alzner hasn't been playing so good since he started bouncing up and down. One can make the argument that it's hurt his play some, but the fact is that he's only 20. He needs more ice time to develop, and he'll get it in Hershey (which needs the help right now). He won't get it here with 8 active D on the roster.

(2) Trades. We had scouts at the COL/MIN game, and Minnesota has come out and said that they'll trade D to get some O. O is something that Washington's got a few of, last I checked. Possible target: Marc-Andre Bergeron, who is UFA at the end of this year. Cap hit 1.1.

Other possible targets include Jordan Leopold and Ruslan Salei from Colorado, and Colorado is in need of healthy centers. They may get Stastny back on Friday (maybe), but that doesn't completely fill their needs. Salei's cap hit is a tad over 3, though, and Leopold's is about half that, plus Salei has another year on his contract. Probably too rich for Washington's blood given the Semin/Backstrom resignings coming up. I'd guess Leopold.

(3) Brian Pothier. Didn't someone say he took morning skate in full gear recently? I'm thinking he might not be far off. A long shot, but I'm not ruling it out.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 17, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

What happened with Sloan and Collins - I thought they stepped up pretty well when called upon, but apparently they did not impress enough to be considered ready for a stretch run. Alzner's going to have to go back to the superstitions he dropped when he came back this last time.

Posted by: hook99 | February 17, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The big issue is that any of the other defensemen would have to go through waivers, and Alzner doesn't. I barely noticed Kronwall during the game Saturday when he played, so apparently he was doing his job (then again everyone played really well on Sat.)

Posted by: MikeL-Caps91 | February 17, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

If Alzner is going to play in the NHL, he should be on a d-pair with a vet who can mentor him and cover his mistakes.

So far with the Caps this season, he has been asked to be the steady one covering mistakes of lesser D, which is a lot to ask of a 20 year old.

Posted by: stormblue | February 17, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

If I remember right, Kronwall has to be up/play in 10 games before he could be sent down. I believe thats part of claiming someone on re-entry waivers...otherwise Toronto gets him back. So maybe given Alzners struggles and other inconsistant D play (Schultz), they picked him up to allow Alzner to go back down.

Posted by: thd1 | February 17, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

It's getting so darn exciting i can't stand it!!!

Also check this out to add a little spice to the dessert:

Did you know that the CAPS play 4 straight home games "before" kicking off the 21-game salute. While those teams present a good challenge they are at home and our crowd is the 7th man. It will be a good tune up for us.

Puck the Penguins Update: Lost one precious point to the lowly Islanders. See what I mean by the road games -- me me spot on dudes.

The other thing I'm sure you missed but the Wind is here to make sure you don't is that the Penguins (who we love to hate) play 8 out of the next 11 games on the road. Man if there ever is a time for them to melt away on the thin ice of new day let's consider this the beginning of the end of their season. And to boot they have to play our CAPS twice in the Phone Booth with the ZOO present.

And always thanks for your continued support.

Rock n Roll

Posted by: windjammersouth | February 17, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"...and other inconsistant D play (Schultz)"


Posted by: Section117 | February 17, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

@Section117 - I think what thd1 is saying is that since we have Kronwall, we don't technically "need" Alzner and Morrisonn, so Mo can ride the pine, and Alzner can go season some more in Hershey, where he IS needed, and badly. Right?

Posted by: irockthered | February 17, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Im not buying Kronwall as a playoff top 6 on our team. If he cant cut in on the Leafs..he shouldn't make it here. Hope he proves me wrong.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 17, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

When I watch Schultz I think he is slow, makes bad passes, panics with the puck, and is generally not that good. The I look at the stats and see that he is +18. He is obviously doing a better job than I think. Makes me wonder once again if this Bruce guy atually knows what he is doing?

Posted by: majiksea | February 17, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

no, section117 just wants to point out schultz's +16.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 17, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

ALzner will be back. When he was first called up everyone was pulling for him and he played well. Very few mental mistakes for a player that young and everyone was excited. His play hasn't dropped that much, but his mistakes resulted in opportunities for the opponents, so they stood out. He is 20, he needs ice time. He along with Greene and Poti are the untouchables on defense. I expect him to cement his place on this team by next year, but would like to see it happen this year.

Posted by: tomdchancar | February 17, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse


I understand the intent of what's being said, but at the risk of rehashing a discussion that folks had last night, Schultz has possibly been the 2nd or 3rd most consistent defenseman for the last month, and I think he's played with everyone on the backline during that time, save for Poti.

Posted by: Section117 | February 17, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I type, I hit send! Please add an N and a C in the appropriate place, thanks!

Posted by: majiksea | February 17, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I dont think Kronwall is a top six guy either. It just gives them the option to leave Alzner in Hershey and hopefully let him develope at the right pace. As for Shultz, IMO hes not the same since he returned from injury. He seems to lose the puck battles behind his net at an alarming rate. For someone his size, it drives me crazy!

Posted by: thd1 | February 17, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

The Bears can probably use his help right about now.

Posted by: _jordan | February 17, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse


I agree with everything you said. Shultz is BY FAR he worst Dman on the caps as well as close to the league. I feel like he freaks with the puck and it is like hiding a sore thumb when they pair him with Green.

The reasoning for having his +18 is that fact that when Poti was hurt and we had our Hershey Capitals playing in DC they split up the Green/Mo to share the experience with Sloan, Collins, Alzner, Helmer and the list goes on.

I think that Shultz could have an very positive upside but until he starts to use his body and make someone scared of him then he will just be a little push over. I dont know if you all notice but is actually starting to get scaring because watching other teams attack him and skate right by is worrying me. I dont know but this guy just gets on my nerves and makes the entire VC hold their breathe when he holds the puck.

I would take Mo over Shultz ANYDAY of the week....even with Mo's contract, I would even put Brooksy back there, ha jk at least not yet

Posted by: whsqb10 | February 17, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Let the outrage begin

Posted by: superpaqman | February 17, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I have a spare ticket in 426 row N against the Habs. If anyone wants to join me, let me know.

Posted by: Steve_R | February 17, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm not worried about Alzner. He's been a little inconsistent on D, but give the kid a break! GMGM has a plan and it's working fine. Stick to the plan.

What I am worried about is this little gem from TSN.CA

"The Boston Globe suggests, if the Ducks do make Chris Pronger available, that the Bruins could solidify their Stanley Cup aspirations by going after him."

Now, I like Pronger's physical play and his ability to clear the crease. I do NOT like his dirty play, though. My issue is that I'd rather have him on the Caps than play against him a lot. I have a feeling that we'll be seeing Boston in the late Spring. I'd rather not face him and his dirty play and get someone injured for The Cup finals.

Posted by: Greg S. | February 17, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I would agree with you as well, if the worst D'man in the league had a +18. I think you would be blown away by how fast Shultz would be taken if we offered to trade him, but that wont happen!

Posted by: majiksea | February 17, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Schulz is tied for 22nd in the league in +/- (+18). Interestingly, Semin is 8th with +26, which is quite a turnaround from last year's -18. Green is 5th with +28.

Posted by: hook99 | February 17, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

i seem to recall a couple of years ago the team sent down a young dman in the middle of the season. it was kind of a surprize then too. guys name was mike green. how's he doing?

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | February 17, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

The +/- stat can be one of the most misleading stats in all of sports though. I just think that Shultz +18 is a clear indicator of that.

Who knows he might turn into a solid Dman someday, I just dont see that happening anytime soon and with some many young guys in Hershey his time might be running out quicker than he might like. You can only waste a spot for so long when you have Alzner and Lepisto and the list of Hershey guys waiting for their shot

Posted by: whsqb10 | February 17, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse


Following up on your comment about Green's +28, that actually puts him second among all NHL defenseman behind Wideman last time I looked. When people talk about the potential for him to win the Norris, I keep thinking that he's not strong enough defensively to win, and certainly he's not the best defensive defenseman out there, but the +28 tells me he's still more solid than I thought. If he finishes the season in the top 5 among D in +/-, he has to win it, no?

Posted by: cainoo7x | February 17, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Sami kind of sucked when he got a shot last year. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Steve_R | February 17, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"As for Shultz, IMO hes not the same since he returned from injury."

Fair enough. That said:

- Nobody on the blueline has been on the ice for more goals the Caps score (except for Green)

- He does this against the opposition's best (or second best) forwards and D pairings, and without the best possible group of teammates on the ice

- He takes among the fewest PIMs of anyone on the backline, and doesn't take them when he's on the PK

- He's still the youngest man on the backline

Posted by: Section117 | February 17, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Another thing that you need to know is that when the CAPs kick off the 21-game salute it is against Atlanta (minus what used to be one of their best defenseman).

Here the Kitty Box the news gets better and better.

Posted by: windjammersouth | February 17, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Bad since coming back? He's a +9 in February alone and has not had a - game in that span. Now, Corsi does bear that out, he's the only D-man with a negative Corsi right now. What I don't have are his Corsi ratings for February, and that might pose a better argument either way.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 17, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Kronwall, Erskine and Mo suck...we need some more steady defense before the playoffs start.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 17, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse


sloan and collins have been horrible in hershey, sloan is one of the worst dmen we have, collins has alot of potential, but hasnt been playing well

Posted by: bearsfan26 | February 17, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Schultz's +18 is a fluke in the stats. Paired with Green, you're going to get +'s. The Beaky Buzzard is 15th in points (1G 9A 10P) on the Caps.

He finished last year with a +12 5G 13A 18P. Next thing you know is that he'll file for arbitration and get ShaMo money (which he doesn't deserve).

I think is still is a liability. Let's trade him a pick while we can.

Eklund doesn't have Schultz listed on the Caps payroll at cap central. Maybe he knows something we don't (unlikely).

Posted by: puckman | February 17, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Anybody know how much longer Pothier is gonna be with us and whether or not his contract is hitting our cap? At some point we need to take a look and determine whether or not it's good to ask him to retire. But that's a bit unfair. I guess we'll need to wait this out. Which is why I want to know how much longer we have him on the books.

Posted by: blanknerc | February 17, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I know it is very unlikely for me to talk about an individual player but it is my belief that Morrison will be moved. GMGM doesn't like players to test him (think Arbi style).

Time to clean the kitty box

Posted by: windjammersouth | February 17, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure why the extreme dislike for Schultz. My guess is that there is not a thing that he could do right by you. To say that he is "BY FAR he worst Dman on the caps as well as close to the league" is pretty damning. I don't believe his play has been that bad and am happy that he is one of our consistent Dmen. I think he holds up pretty well overall and if he is the worst dman we have , then we are doing pretty darn good. The suggestion that he is one of the worst in the league is laghable. But you are entitled to your rather harsh opinion.

Posted by: _Mark | February 17, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse


If he is cleared by a doctor to play, he has got to be considered. He is probably protected by the NHLPA agreement. Im not sure what we do if his performance has dropped, and isnt playing at a top 6 d-man level though. I know we would want him to play a few games in Hershey, but then what?

Posted by: SA-Town | February 17, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@puckman: He's a D-man. Points aren't his thing. Not everybody is Mike Green :) Let's argue something relevant. :)

@blanknerc: According to, Brian Pothier is UFA at the end of next year with a cap hit of 2.5 million. Because he is on LTIR, we are permitted to exceed the cap by up to his salary amount, so he's not killing us cap-wise.

He may want to retire on his own; he's said that his family is more important. But, he wants to get completely healthy and get medical clearance to play before making that decision, so we'll see what happens.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 17, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Pothier's contract expires after the '09-'10 season. His salary next year is $2.5 mil.

Even more reason to send Schultz and ShaMo packing, now.

Posted by: puckman | February 17, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

laghable or laughable.... now interchangeable. :)

Damn, that emoticon is a fine, isn't it?

Posted by: _Mark | February 17, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Schultz is 22

Posted by: reesem37 | February 17, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Poti has been plain horrible since coming back from his injury. Zero points and a -4 or more in the last few games right? Why is he an untouchable at the trade deadline?

I could definetly see him going somewhere as a roster player in a roster player + draft pick + prospect move for a solid Dman at the deadline.

Posted by: patrone | February 17, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm not convinced that Schultz will or should be sent packing. ShaMo, I'll agree with right now. Let's see what happens for the playoff run.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 17, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I realize Alzner as of late hasn't played up to his potential, but he is still better than Schultz. I want to know wat Coach BB sees in Schultz, other than him being so tall. Alzner should be in as one of our top 6 defensmen and atleast be in over Schultz.

Posted by: Thomas32 | February 17, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Why don't we all send letters to Mcphee saying how much we thing our 22/23 year old defenseman sucks and how we need to bring in Nick Lidstrom for a Cup run. ShaMo I do agree has not lived up to his salary or expectations. I could see him going...Schultz is not going anywhere.

Posted by: reesem37 | February 17, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

@kitty That's my point (no pun intended) with Schultz, he's not in on the scoring (G or A) so his pluses are a result of someone else setting up and producing goals.

Anyone know of a stat that shows a player's percentage of allowing/scoring a goal while on the penalty kill or power play, respectfully?

Posted by: puckman | February 17, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Also...a couple of months ago when Fehr wasn't producing every one wanted to throw him under the bus. Let these guys mature, and find their game. I have more trust in Boudreau and McPhee than the bozos that troll this site expecting instant results.

Posted by: reesem37 | February 17, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I can honestly say that every player on the Caps team, minus Ovie and Green and Alzner have been targeted/suggested by someone on this blog to be traded.

So we if put our collective heads together, we basically want to dump the whole team. Pretty harsh for one of the top 5 teams in the NHL eh?

Posted by: SA-Town | February 17, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

@puckman: That's true of most defensemen. The D's job is to keep the other guy from scoring goals, so if you have a high +/-, either you're scoring a lot or you're keeping the other guy from scoring a lot. In Schultz's case, it's the latter.

But I think what you're looking for as far as stats go is this link. It goes far beyond +/- and SOG and into derivative stats, quality of competition, and so forth, including 5-on-5, 5-on-4, and 4-on-5 play.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 17, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

New thread guys :)

Posted by: kittypawz | February 17, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse


I didn't say to trade Semin. I said it was better to trade him than let him go as a RFA and collect the draft choice compensation. If he plays out this contract, he becomes RFA with one year to go before UFA. Caps could sign him long term, but the amount he will want and the cap might be an issue. They could also sign him one year like FLA did with Bouwmeester, but then you lose him for nothing. Or, if you are cap-constrained, which means you can't either sign him or trade him for someone expensive, the best strategy would be to get a top 4th year player, a top first year player and a #1 pick. Better that than draft picks that don't mature for years.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 17, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

>>Paired with Green, you're going to get +'s.

Um, paired with Green you're going to get a lot of odd-man rushes through the neutral zone. You're going to get a lot of chances to demonstrate the value of sound positional play. You're going to get aggravated wishing Schultz was Phaneuf, while attackers get aggravated with him for completely different reasons.
Feel free to say you don't dig his style. But you sound silly saying 55's bad at his job (which, alas, is not "proving he's a bad@$$" or "looking bored during corner scrums").

Posted by: redlineblue | February 17, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse


I've become a big, big fan of the guys that run the probablities, sabermetric, and statistic sites out there. I work with a guy who's great at the NFL stuff - oftentimes it takes me a long time to understand and realize how the numbers work. (If you read the NYTimes piece on Shane Battier this weekend, you know what we're talking about here.) There's a site ( that has the entire 2007-08 numbers available and coded by formula. Needless to say, it takes something to understand all the parameters but not much time to figure out how to sort the data provided. You can make your own assumptions about the data but if you sort last year's Caps by the player contribution based on even handed defense, short handed defense, short handed penalty killing and short handed goals, you know what? Schultz was #1 followed by Jurcina, Poti, Green, Morrisonn.

If you must know, Schultz came in at #24 for defensemen across the entire league.

I'm not a huge Schultz fan, particularly when watching the games at Verizon, but I also know that there's little flash to his game and lots of stuff we don't see. The numbers certainly bear this out. I also happen to think that Boudreau knows what he's doing.

Carry on.

I'm trying to find the 08-09 updated number.

Posted by: saintex | February 17, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"Paired with Green, you're going to get +'s."

He had a +6 over the DET/OTT weekend paired with Jurcina, so...

Posted by: Section117 | February 17, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't that long ago there were a lot of post on this site bashing Greene for hanging his defensive partner out to dry. Now I see that his partner at the time was none other than Shultz due to all the injuries. However, now it's Shultz bashing because his plus/minus is the result of playing with Greene and his scoring prowess. I do think cringe at times with Shultz on the ice, because he is slow and doesn't play the body well, but he doesn't give the puck away with stupid decisions. He's too yung to give up on, he will never be the stud d-man we crave, but good enough to be a 5th or 6th.

Posted by: tomdchancar | February 17, 2009 1:23 PM | Report abuse

And, if you look at 08-09 overall player contributions - offense and defense together - then Schultz was #4 for all Caps last year behind AO, Green and Kozlov.

Posted by: saintex | February 17, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"He's too yung to give up on, he will never be the stud d-man we crave, but good enough to be a 5th or 6th."

The kid's 22, and quietly put on almost 10 pounds of muscle during the offseason. I think he continues to grow into the frame because a) he's got the time and b) wants to improve, and he (like Green, Alzner, etc) haven't hit their peak years in the position. You can't say he's too young to give up on then imply he's peaked in the next sentence.

Posted by: Section117 | February 17, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: vik191 | February 17, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

for anyone who still had questions about why he was a scratch (and why he will hopefully continue to play in Hershey until next season)

Posted by: cstanton1 | February 17, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

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