September 21, 2019

Washington Capitals Game 3 Recap: Caps dominate defending Cup champs

TEAM AMERICA ROCKS THE RED

After a thumping from the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, the Washington Capitals came out flying Thursday night for a red, white, and blue 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Good ol’ American boys John Carlson, T.J. Oshie and Matt Niskanen put up a combined five points on the night.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Caps win without a contribution from the captain, who completed a dazzling passing sequence with his second goal of the season in the third period. [Read more…]

Caps’ Carlson has Olympic “dream come true”

After John Carlson did the photo-op thing in front of the White House Wednesday evening after being named to the U.S. Men’s Olympic team, he did a telephone press conference as well for media members that couldn’t schlep downtown. The following is the transcript. Please enjoy responsibly.

On his initial reaction and where he heard the news:

“I feel great about it. It’s a dream come true. I was watching the [Winter Classic] at home with my girlfriend and just waiting and waiting finally saw the kid skate up with my jersey on and was pretty relieved. It’s been a good start, first half of the season but obviously with this at the back of your mind you’re always wondering, so it’s nice that it’s come to an end now and obviously even better that I made the team.

On WJC teammates Cam Fowler and Derek Stepan making the team as well:

When I went to lunch with Mathieu Perreault when [the Ducks] were in town Cam was there too, so it’s always nice to catch up with them and I’m looking forward to being on the same team with him again.

Going back to the summer practice at Kettler, did you feel good about chances?

I always knew that I had a great shot to make the team, I just needed to do my job and it would all play out. But I don’t make those decisions, so you never know. So it made it even better today when I found out. Obviously it’s a thrilling experience and positive. I’m just looking forward to getting over there now.

On his favorite Olympic memories:

I think last Olympics was probably the funnest for me to watch. Just based off the competition and knowing people in the games and playing against some of them in certain situations. That was pretty cool. But I don’t think much could beat the ‘Miracle on Ice’ in 1980.

On the roster construction:

I think we have a great team. USA hockey’s doing great over the past five years or ten years now with such strong teams. It’s a positive and I’m looking forward to being on that team.

On what he feels are the strengths of the team:

I think skating. I think even in the last Olympics for the U.S. they were a really fast team. We’re hard on the puck and can skate with any other team and I think that’s important on the big surface like they said. It’s always nice to have that. We’ve got tons of skill and size and creative as well, but I think skating is going to be important in this one.

On hitting Ovi and the possibility of playing against Caps teammates:

It’ll be difference playing again some of your good friends and stuff like that but that’ll make the experience even better, I think in my mind.

On the team’s plan between now and going over to Russia:

I’m sure there’ll be a ton of information they’ll have to give us. They gave us a lot even just in the summer camp, just to kind of guide us into it a little bit. I talked to [Penguins GM and U.S. Olympic ass’t GM] Ray Shero a little bit today just for a few minutes, just about congratulatory messages and just chatting real quick. I’m sure they’ll be in touch in the next week or so.

On the challenges of the larger international 100 foot rink:

I just think the angles, more for goalies, for sure it’s huge. For defensemen, your positioning is even more paramount, I think. Making sure that you’re staying in the middle of the ice and get a feel for that aspect of defense. Obviously in the corners and stuff, the battles will be the same. It’ll be fun, being on the open ice. I talked to Marty Erat about it a little bit. He’s trying to tell me few tips about it here and there on the differences and what-not. It’ll be a change, but a great change, for a great thing.

On the Penguins influence and if getting along with everyone will be a problem:

I don’t think so at all. I think even meeting everyone this summer it’s almost like everyone’s friends off the ice even with people you might not like on the ice. In particular, I don’t ‘not-like’ anyone so I don’t think we’ll have to worry about that. It’s a cool tournament in the same sense of the World Juniors where they’re people you need to gel with together right away and you get over there and playing the next day, so there’s a lot more onus on that aspect of the game and I think that everyone’s obviously willing to do what it takes to win.

Comparing attention of the World Juniors to the Olympics:

[The WJC] is a mini version of the Olympics in a sense. I’m happy with my past experience with that, being able to win that tournament was great. It’s a whole different animal playing in another different country, with the atmosphere and the ice and all the teams that will be there will add to how cool it is.

On Ovechkin’s comments that Carlson belonged on Team U.S.A.:

I think it’s great, obviously. We’ve got a close team and it’s nice to hear that, especially from your captain. I’m just glad to be on the team and contribute [to the Caps] and obviously that’s just rolled over in another dream of mine.

John Carlson’s “chance of a lifetime” on Team USA

Photo credit: Monumental Network

Photo credit: Monumental Network

Wednesday evening, John Carlson, newly selected to represent the US in Sochi, Russia in the 2014 Olympics, held court for reporters and fans in front of the White House mere hours after receiving the good news. After being invited to the US team’s orientation camp in August, it was widely speculated that Carlson had a good chance to make the Olympic team, and his strong play in the early part of the season, especially in Mike Green’s absence, undoubtedly made the decision easy for the selection committee.

Carlson fielded questions about the strength of the US team, his safety in Russia, the possibility of playing against his current teammates, and his reaction to the news of his selection. He is the first Capitals player so far to be named to a national Olympic team. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom will most likely be representing their respective countries, Russia and Sweden, in Sochi as well. Teammates Karl Alzner and Braden Holtby were invited to Team Canada’s orientation camp over the summer, but don’t appear to be in the mix for a spot on the Canadian Olympic team at the moment.

The former London Knight has represented the US before, in the 2010 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship tournament. He scored the game-winning goal in overtime against Team Canada, and was named to  NHL.com’s All-Time World Junior Championship team in December 2010.

The full transcript of Carlson’s scrum is below.

Where were you when you found out?

Just at home. I was watching the game [Winter Classic], and then just waiting, trying to wait patiently , but it seemed like the game was five hours long.

Did you get a text in advance?

No, nothing. And then I had everyone, like all my family and stuff, texting me ‘Do you get a heads up? Have you heard anything?’ Everyone thought that I would get to hear something before that, but obviously the outcome was great, so it doesn’t really matter. It was definitely an experience.

What does it mean to not only be representing your country but also DC?

It’s obviously an honor to represent your country, and I feel a bond with DC, so I think it’s really cool even that we get to do something like this – stand in front of the White House. I’ve always loved this city, so it’s got a lot of meaning. That meaning is the same for me, getting a chance to play for my country, I’ve only done it twice before, and it’s a whole other level.

Any concerns about safety?

No comment.

Who have you heard from since you heard the news?

Right now just talking to my family, my parents, and my brother, and stuff like that. Then Ray Shero called me from the team, and just talked to him for five minutes, maybe. That was it. I think we got an email, and I guess they’ll just let us know what the protocol is.

What do you know, and what did Ray fill you in on?

Not much. He just said ‘congrats, you deserve it,’ and ‘keep playing well’.  I think they’re coming to play us before or we’re going there before, so he said we’ll grab a minute to talk.

You got a taste of the orientation camp, what was that atmosphere like?

When I heard that I was named to that, it was still an honor for me. With a unique tournament like that, it’s important to get together and take care of a lot of stuff so you don’t have to worry about it towards the tournament. Obviously, being such a short tournament, everyone knowing each other is a big part of it, too.

Have you ever been to Russia?

No.

What are your thoughts about that?

I think it’ll be great. I heard that the village is going to be unlike anything else, because they just built everything. Everything is going to be close, and easily accessible for all of us. I’m really looking forward to it.

Have you thought about the possibility of facing Alex [Ovechkin] and Nick [Backstrom] on the other side?

Honestly, I haven’t, but I was thinking the other day, I was like ‘okay, let me just make sure, pay a little more attention to what they’re doing out there, just in case’. I guess I gotta keep my eye on them now.

Do you have friends on that team that you’ve played with before?

I’ve played with a bunch of them- not a bunch- a handful, probably, over the years, and at World Juniors. The hockey world is so small that, you go to the camp, and I didn’t think I’d know too many people, and then ten minutes later, you’re like, I actually know over half of them right away.

Can you lean on your 2010 World Juniors experience, and what you got out of that?

Absolutely. I think any type of hockey experience you can take a lot out of, and I see that being for our country as well. It was pretty cool. I’m just looking forward to being a part of this team over there, and it’s going to be a chance of a lifetime.

What kind of team do you think Team USA will be?

What they did with the kids was pretty cool, but once they got to my name, I kind of lost track of everything else. After fifteen minutes of calling people and stuff like that, and hearing from Sergey [Capitals PR], I was like ‘oh, let me look who else is on there’, so I rewinded it. It’s a great team, I think very dynamic players that give the Caps problems all the time, so I think [with] the big ice surface, that we’re going to be pretty fast. I think they were the last Olympics, and that’s all I can really think about right now.

 

Photo credit: Monumental Network

Photo credit: Monumental Network

Carlson named to U.S. Olympic Team

(photo courtesy Washington Capitals)

(photo courtesy Washington Capitals)

Defenseman John Carlson was named to the U.S. Men’s Olympic team Wednesday. The announcement was name at the conclusion of the Winter Classic, where Toronto beat Detroit in a shootout.

From the Caps press release:

Carlson, 23, will be making his first Olympic appearance. The 6’3”, 212-pound defenseman from Natick, Massachusetts, ranks tied for fifth among NHL defensemen in goals this season (7), first among Washington skaters in blocked shots (83) and average ice time (24:41) and second on the team in shots (107). In the last two seasons, Carlson ranks third in goals (13) among NHL defensemen born in the United States, trailing only Keith Yandle (16) and Dustin Byfluglien (15). In 274 career NHL games with Washington, Carlson has tallied 112 points (30 goals, 82 assists) and a plus-26 rating.

Carlson led the Hershey Bears, the Capitals’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, to the Calder Cup championship in 2010, collecting seven points (two goals, five assists) in 13 playoff games. Carlson scored the cup-clinching goal in Game 6 of the 2010 Calder Cup finals against the Texas Stars. That same year, Carlson scored the overtime, game-winning goal to help the United States win the gold medal at the 2010 World Junior Championship (WJC) against Canada. He posted three goals and four assists in seven tournament games as an alternate captain and was named to the WJC All-Star Team. In addition, Carlson helped Hershey win the 2009 Calder Cup championship, collecting three points (one goal, two assists) in 16 playoff games.

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