Karl Alzner ‘fine’ after big hit from Tampa Bay’s Richard Panik (updated)

December 11, 2013

Karl Alzner lays on the ice after he was hit by Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Richard Panik in the second period Tuesday. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Update, Wednesday 10:57 a.m. Richard Panik will have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety Wednesday for his hit on Karl Alzner.

Original post: The Capitals avoided a major blow when defenseman Karl Alzner escaped  significant harm after a dangerous neutral-zone hit during Washington’s 6-5 shootout win Tuesday night at Verizon Center.

Alzner went to chip the puck into the offensive zone along the right side boards when Lightning winger Richard Panik delivered a shoulder check that sent the defenseman crashing hard into the boards, his head hitting the dasher with 16:31 gone in the second period.

Washington’s key stay-at-home defenseman was slow to get up and immediately headed down the tunnel to the Capitals’ dressing room. He later said the play left him stunned but not injured.

“I’m fine, I’m completely fine. It was more scary than anything. But I have no effects, no after-effects,” Alzner said, adding that he did not undergo concussion testing protocol. “It was more just shock than anything. My head feels fine, everything’s fine. I’m pretty lucky.”

Alzner returned to the bench in the second period, but because of the extended power play created by Panik receiving a five-minute major for boarding, he didn’t take another shift until the third period. (Alex Ovechkin scored both of his power play goals during the major.) After the scare, Alzner skated 12 shifts for 9:31 of his total 23:13 ice time in the contest.

Alzner said he knew Panik was pursuing him on the play, but that he didn’t fault his opponent for what happened.

“I knew he was there. I fumbled the puck, I went to go poke it in and I’m not in the best position,” Alzner said. “You kind of hope the guy lets off a little bit but it was fast — I don’t hold anything against him. I knew he was there and had to try and get the puck in. I wasn’t going to let it go.”

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