Like a lot of hockey players, Washington Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner has a bit of a mean streak. Usually he reserves that for some pushing and shoving in front of the net.
Never fighting - until Friday night.
In the second period, Alzner dropped the gloves against Tampa Bay Lightning agitator Steve Downie for his first career NHL fight. Alzner and Downie were involved in a shoving match and some words in the corner that escalated into a legitimate bout.
“First pro fight. Well, I just didn’t have much of a choice there. He had my stick and I couldn’t really get that free,” Alzner said. “And I’ve had a couple run ins with Downie in the past. I know him a little bit from playing with him. It was all right. It was a good experience.”
Alzner held his own, but in a game the Caps were leading 3-0, he could afford to take some frustration out and defend himself against Downie, whose reputation around the league is not sterling. Alzner and Downie had some words from the penalty boxes after the fight, too, keeping the chirping going long after they were separated.
“I thought he did a great job,” more normal fighter Matt Hendricks said. “He stuck up for himself against a tough competitor.”
Alzner’s last fight came when with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League on Sept. 22, 2007, according to the website HockeyFights.com. The defenseman had three fights in the WHL.
“Karly, he’s not known to be a fighter, but it’s an emotional game out there and stuff happens on there and you don’t like it, and that’s how it ends up that way,” coach Dale Hunter said.
John Carlson tweeted a joke about his friend fighting Floyd Mayweather, and every teammate asked was supportive of Alzner dropping the gloves.
“It was pretty big for us,” captain Alex Ovechkin said. “It was kind of first fight for him and on the bench everybody was excited.”
Video below courtesy of Comcast SportsNet: