Karl Alzner was wiping the sleep out of his eyes Thursday morning when the phone rang.So the Caps wanted him in Hershey yesterday and he passed? Chalk it up to bad timing, I suppose. It's unfortunate, because I'm sure Alzner, the Bears, their fans and Caps fans would have loved to see the organization's top prospect in action, even if just for one game.
It was the Washington Capitals and they wanted their 19-year-old, first-round selection of 2007 to report to their Hershey farm club for a playoff game . . . immediately.
"I thought about it for a little bit, but every bone in my body aches and I'm fighting a bit of a flu bug or something, so I'm really not feeling that well," the Calgary Hitmen's all-star defenceman said as he cleaned out his locker during the noon hour at the Pengrowth Saddledome.
"Right now, I'm just trying to get everything out of my mind, relaxing and wanting to clear off all the thoughts that I have."
If Hershey can find a way out of its 1-3 playoff hole, Alzner said he'd be ready to go, but you can bet the unsigned nominee for Western Hockey League top defenceman and player of the year awards will be in the Capitals organization for the start of next season.
To further whet your appetite, the Calgary Sun has more praise for Alzner as he leaves town for the professional ranks:
Alzner has nothing left to prove at the junior level.
He has, or will, win every individual honour that is available to him.
If he was under contract and the Capitals were still in the playoffs, there'd be a chance he'd make his NHL debut in the next few days.
He's that ready, that complete of a player.
And he's just as good when he takes the skates off. Diplomatic, a consumate leader and a young player who refuses to use cliches, Alzner will be a quote machine with the Caps for years to come.
UPDATE: Perhaps we have our answer on the "when."