Friday, February 21, 2020

Karl Alzner Autographed Card

With injuries to Victor Mete and Xavier Ouellet and the Marco Scandella trade, Karl Alzner - who's pretty much played for the AHL Laval Rocket for the past two years - becomes the Montréal Canadiens' second left-side blue-liner when Claude Julien had seemingly relegated him to 15th d-man role by consistently publicly asking GM Marc Bergevin for help at that position, dissatisfied as he was with his options.

Alzner had a great attitude in the AHL, always had a smile on his face when meeting fans and journalists, and other players all said he was a terrific teacher who made good points and was always willing to help. Of course, he's even happier to be back in the NHL right now. Even if it means he's earning less money - his $4.25M contract is guaranteed, but every day spent in the NHL comes with escrow - which theoretically could make its way back to him but never actually ever does - while there is none in the AHL because it's not based on the NHL's overall revenue pyramid.

It's still odd to think that a two-time World Juniors gold medalist (2007 and 2008, the latter as Team Canada's captain), WHL Defenseman and Player Of The Year (2008), two-time Calder Cup-winner and two-time Presidents Trophy winner, one-time active NHL iron man and always among the top-10 in blocked shots has been reduced to wearing an "A" on his chest playing in a suburb while the most storied franchise in hockey history pays his salary without using his services despite being in the thick of a historically-awful period.

In case you're wondering, this is what he looks like in bleu-blanc-rouge, namely the Habs' classic red (home) uniform:
That's card #96 from Upper Deck's 2018-19 Series 1 set, which he signed in blue sharpie just a little over a year ago, tagging his jersey number (22) at the end. Even though he has mostly spent two of the three seasons of his current five-year deal in the minors, it's not his signing per se that left a bitter taste in Habs fans' minds; it's GM Bergevin's training camp quote, after rejecting star defenseman Andrei Markov's plea to remain a member of the Canadiens for two more seasons and claiming (and doubling down on) to have a "better defense than last season" when he clearly didn't, which put undue pressure on the entire defense corps, which they still have not recovered from, three years in.

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