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Defensemen get few chances to rip shots on net during NHL games. Rather, they take advantage of practice by sending the puck goalward on their netminder teammates, who are more lenient during the morning skates. Jose Theodore wasn’t so merciful, according to former teammate Karl Alzner.
Alzner was a D-man for Washington for nine seasons, overlapping with goaltender Jose Theodore from 2008-10. During Caps Pregame Live ahead of the Capitals’ matchup with Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Alzner detailed how Theodore would playfully taunt him in practice.
“Practice is when you’re trying to work on a few things and get a little bit of confidence. I remember Jose— he’d always give me half the net,” Alzner said. “I’d be so excited coming down, I’m gonna rip one top corner. Bury my head, go to hammer the shot top corner, next thing you know Jose’s there and hits him in the chest. I go back to the corner thinking, ‘What just happened there? And I look over and Jose’s still standing in the crease, laughing.”
A bit of innocuous goalie-to-defender teasing, right? Alzner said it went hilariously further.
“So then I come down the next time and sure enough, I’m like, ‘Okay I’m gonna outsmart Jose, and I’m gonna shoot it where he is now, and he’s gonna move over and I’m gonna laugh at him,’” Alzner said.
“Next thing you know, I shoot it back into his stomach again and sure enough he’s laughing at me in the corner. This is not a good confidence-builder. I was getting absolutely frustrated in practice and this is where I wanted to work on scoring goals. Jose’s that guy that was just making me feel even worse about it, so it is what it is. It’s fun to have a guy like that in your net.”
Theodore did his fair share of taking pucks to the chest during his playing days. He spent 18 seasons in the NHL, winning the Hart Trophy for most valuable player and the Vezina Trophy for best goaltender, both in 2002. If any goalie could outsmart the likes of a skater, it was Jose Theodore. Unfortunately for Karl Alzner, he was one of those skaters.