Karl Alzner's Fake Mustache
(Following through on this morning's realization that the Caps are comparatively under-served by The Post. We had three staffers there today. Progress. Much more from this Alzner conversation in days to come.)
The Washington Capitals already have their quirky Web icon, that being Alex Ovechkin, the man with the transcontinental Internet girlfriends, personalized clothing line, neon Crocs and Hair Cuttery sponsorship. But Karl Alzner, the organization's 2007 first-round draft pick and top blue-line prospect, has brought equipment-bags full of quirk to this week's development camp, and, well, the media members aren't complaining.
Example: the very first question I asked of Alzner this afternoon revealed that the 19-year-old's current lucky charm is a fake mustache that was once discarded by Snoop Dogg during Game 2 of the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals, which Alzner carries with him to every game in the jacket of his lone suit. The mustache was in honor of Anaheim enforcer and noted mustache enthusiast George Parros; Snoop, having evidently had his fill of fake mustaches, left it behind after the game and Alzner snapped it up.
Anyhow, Alzner claims he has never worn this lucky West Coast-infused fake 'stache out in public.
"No way," he said. "I'm even a little nervous to try it on."
Meaning he's never even seen how he might look as a Snoop-scented mustachioed enforcer?
"I have," he said. "But I'm a little nervous to keep putting it on. It's been up his nose, so I shouldn't keep putting it on [mine]. I don't think so, at least. Maybe wash it first."
And if you think keeping this trinket of American excellence in his suit jacket is Alzner's strangest career superstition, think again. Several years ago, he devised a pre-game routine that mandated he was only allowed to turn to the right twice, with every other turn veering leftward. The last shot he takes before he leaves the ice is always a fake forehand go backhand, and "if I can hit the crossbar or if I can put it right underneath the bar, it's a good day, it's gonna be a really good day," he said.
Previously, when he headed to the bench before the puck dropped, he would tap his stick 88 times when he stood for the Canadian anthem, in honor of his year of birth; "I made sure I had it right because it would throw me off," he said.
Then, when the lyric reached "glorious and free," he would shut his eyes, open them, focus on the maple leaf at the center of the Canadian flag and trace its outline with his eyes, starting from the bottom left corner and slowly navigating the circumference until it was completed just as the anthem ended. Eventually, he would start banging his stick again, which was often drowned out by the cheering of the crowd.
"I got rid of a lot of those," he said, "because it's hard to do it every time, you know?"
Sure. But he still has his other routines. He will never put on his right sock before his left, nor his left shoe before his right. His feet go up whenever he's passing over train tracks. And 11:11 on the clock always begets a wish.
"I don't just make one, I make as many as I can think of at the time," he said. "I have three standard ones that I can't say because I want them to come true, and then I have ones like making sure I have a safe flight. Or I win the lottery. Things like that."
And would you believe that I haven't yet gone into his homemade baseball hats, specialty blended banana beverages or love of Nordstrom?
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