Secret sniper

SCOTT FISHER -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

Good thing Karl Alzner can handle a puck better than he does trivia questions.

The Calgary Hitmen blueliner, who sat out yesterday's practice with an 'upper-body injury' (yes, it's that time of the year), was completely stymied when quizzed about his team's production against Lethbridge this season.

He knew, without stickhandling, Freddie Pettersson has been the top offensive producer against the Hurricanes, notching seven points in six games.

But who is second on the list?

"Carson?" the 17-year-old offers.

Nope.

"Schultz?"

Here's a hint, Karl.

He wears No. 27.

"Me? Really? That's really weird. I never would have guessed that."

In his defence, few would.

Which isn't a slight against the 6-ft. 2-in., 200-pounder, who is expected to be a high first-round draft pick at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

Alzner went 75 games -- 87 including playoffs -- before scoring his first WHL goal earlier this season.

But, with a goal and three helpers against the 'Canes this season, he is Calgary's second most prolific scorer against Lethbridge.

What does that say about the kind of impact he can have in his club's first-round series, which kicks off Friday in Lethbridge?

"I guess it says I have to shoot pucks at the net and keep getting points," says Alzner, who finished 10th in team scoring with four goals and 24 points in 70 outings.

"And if I'm out on the powerplay with Freddie, I'll pass to him and get some points that way."

Calgary has relied on a balanced scoring attack all season and the sophomore d-man doesn't expect anything to change in the playoffs.

"We've been struggling as of late to score goals," he says.

"It's got to come from everybody, so the defence has to chip in.

"We have Schultzy and Carson who are among the top defencemen. So if we can get other names on the scoresheet, it'll help us win the series."

Holding a bag of muddy snow he scooped off the street outside the arena, Alzner refused to blow his cover by applying it to his mysterious injury.

"(Head coach Kelly) Kisio told me to say it's an upper-body injury," Alzner says, adding he'll be back on the ice tomorrow and fully expects to suit up for Game 1.

Pettersson, who had a goal, an assist and the shootout winner last Friday in Lethbridge, said he's focused on continuing his success against the 'Canes.

"I usually don't think about which team I'm playing against," Pettersson said.

"I didn't know I had the most points until I read the paper.

"But I have a lot of confidence because my last game was pretty good against them."

DEINES QUESTIONABLE: Kris Deines got some bad news yesterday.

X-rays on his suspected bruised thumb revealed a fracture.

Head coach Kelly Kisio said he would meet with the club's medical staff to determine if the overage enforcer would be able to play with a cast.

"I haven't had a chance to talk to Chucko (athletic therapist Mike Elchuk) yet," Kisio said.

"That's one thing I want to talk to the doctors and our training staff about.

"We'll see if that's a possibility."

While a cast would prevent Deines from dropping the gloves, it likely wouldn't impact the rest of his game.

Let's face it.

He's not out there because of his dangling abilities, right coach?

"I never said that," Kisio said with a chuckle.

"He's too big."


Videos

Photos