Alzner and the Media

Posted May 21, 2012

Photo by Alena Schwarz

Professional athletes are expected to talk to the media. There are few, if any, athletes who haven’t given an interview at one time or another. But aside from mandatory press conferences for certain events, it’s often optional to be swarmed by journalists after a game or practice.

Then there are those who relish the opportunity. John Tortorella? No. Dale Hunter? We would’ve learned just as much had he never spoken a word. Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner is that guy.

Regardless of the circumstances, Alzner, very wise for his 23 years, is virtually the go-to guy for quotes in the Capitals locker room. But it’s not just generic “We played hard” snippets he’ll mutter to a barrage of microphones – Alzner seems committed to helping the journalists with their stories, just like his commitment to blocking shots on the ice.

To put it in perspective, young journalists making their way to the locker room for the first time often find themselves nervous during the press’s free-for-all with the athletes. They worry about what questions to ask, whether the questions are dumb, and what kind of answers they’ll get. They’ll even worry about interrupting more seasoned journalists. Several Capitals Outsider writers, working independently, found Alzner to be the easiest to approach, to speak with and to get the quotes that lend to a better article.

Never mind the routine game quotes. Who else would speak – at length – about the mess his dogs made during a playoff game? Who would grant an interview about playing Words With Friends? Alzner takes this all a step further and hosts his own ‘reality’ show with roommate and defensive partner John Carlson, chronicling their time on the road.

This isn’t to say that other Caps aren’t media darlings. Mike Knuble knows what’s up. Matt Hendricks flatters (and teases) young reporters. Brooks Laich has been known to deliver zingers.

The Capitals signed Alzner for a bargain price of $1.285 million through next season, after which he becomes a restricted free agent. While he continues to receive accolades for his defensive play, you better believe that reporters are hoping this guy sticks around for years to come. Especially after he brought cupcakes into the media room.

Forget granting interviews, though. Toward the end of this video, you’ll see Alzner conducting an interview with a player. Post- NHL journalism career, here he comes!