The first time I met Karl Alzner was at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and you could tell the kid was something different. The Washington Capitals drafted the defenseman No. 5 overall, and the moment he stepped on stage he told team officials that he was digging the "old school" new uniforms. Back in the interview scrum, Alzner talked openly about wearing an undershirt to soak up his nervous sweat and picking berries and "licking the beater" when making cookies with this mother.
So the kid is a little different. OK, different may be kind. As Dan Steinberg of the DC Sports Bog reports, Karl Alzner carries around a fake mustache, once owned by Snoop Dogg, as a good-luck charm.
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 Ducks] 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.
But according to Steins, Karl doesn't wear the faux-'stache around town:
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."
Oh, but Alzner's superstitions go beyond the discarded disguises of hip-hop icons. We're talking Nicholson in "As Good As It Gets" territory.
• The last shot he takes before he leaves the ice is always a fake forehand to 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 told the Bog.
• He would tap his stick 88 times in honor of his birth year during the Canadian anthem.
• When that anthem hit the lyric "glorious and free," Alzner 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."
• He'll never put on his right sock before his left, nor his left shoe before his right.
• At 11:11, morning or evening, he makes a wish.
I know what you're thinking, and I completely agree: How is this kid not a goalie?