WASHINGTON — Something which bears reminding: Hockey players are the toughest athletes on the planet.
Capitals defenceman Karl Alzner — whose 139 blocked shots this season rank ninth in the NHL — put his body in front of five shots in Monday’s game alone.
Related: Alzner’s Babysitter Struck By Puck
So what kind of physical toll does such a profoundly self-harming effort take on the human body?
Alzner has had so many broken bones in his hands, he tells The Sports Junkies, he needs assistance from his wife opening jars.
“Last night, none of them hurt, thankfully,” Alzner said of the five pucks to bounce off his body. “They all hit me in good spots. The ones that get you inside the knee usually don’t feel good, just because you can’t really do a whole lot — they just send that shooting pain down your leg and you just are hobbling around for a little bit. Those ones suck.”
“There’s sometimes where you just get hit right in the hand,” he said. “We have gloves on, but they only protect you a little bit. When you get ’em right in the hand, it’s pretty easy to break something.”
“It’s kind of embarrassing,” he prefaced, “but my wife is the one that opens up all the jars in our house because my hands have been broken so many times from the shots.”
“Oh my god,” Eric Bickel said.
“I’ve got pretty weak hands now,” Alzner acknowledged. “It just depends, but the hands end up being bad in the long term. But yeah, inside of the knee and outside of the knee really kind of give you the dead leg feeling.”