Today was “Public Day” at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for the U.S. Men’s National Hockey Team. All the hopeful U.S. Olympians were there, including superstars Patrick Kane, Ryan Kesler and others. Included in that group was Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson.
Carlson has been the unofficial “host player” the past few days as he’s the only member of the Caps invited to the U.S. team tryouts. Having the big-time proceedings in his own building should be a source of pride for the player, but he’s up against the odds of actually making the team.
There appears to be six fairly certain locks on the blue line that head coach Dan Bylsma will take to Sochi with him next February: Ryan Suter, Dustin Byfuglien, Ryan McDonagh, Jack Johnson, Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik. That leaves Carlson having to hold off players like Cam Fowler, Zack Bogosian, and top-of-the-draft standout Seth Jones for a spot or two left on the team.
Asked how he left to be invited, Carlson replied in his customary laid-back manner. “It’s real cool. Obviously, it’s a goal of everyone’s here, I’m sure. It’s a great experience and I’m looking forward to, after this week, get back and get started with the season.”
“Every kid watches the Olympics growing up and to get a chance to do that would be amazing.”
Carlson was asked about the impact having the Olympic team train in D.C. area. “It shows that it’s a great place to play. We’ve got tremendous fans, and the youth hockey system has been good, but obviously it’s growing more and more. Having an event this cool here, it means a lot. But it’s the nation’s capital here too so it helps make it a cool event here, for sure.”
Obviously, international play is staged on a bigger ice surface. Carlson was asked if, because of his strong skating skills, that would help him make the team. “I don’t think it hurts me. I’ve only played on it a few times. It’s part of the game. But getting around on the bigger surface probably doesn’t hurt anyone.”
Carlson also spoke about teammate Karl Alzner’s new contract, having a whole training camp under head coach Adam Oates, and some of the changes the Caps made over the off-season. For Carlson’s full comments, please click the link below.