October 24, 2020

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

About Katie Brown

Katie Brown is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Capitals. She resides in Arlington, VA, and developed a love for the sport of hockey as a youngster while watching her brothers play. Katie works at a nonprofit organization by day but the rest of her time is devoted to watching, writing, and talking about hockey and perfecting her mean one-timer. She is co-host of Girls Just Wanna Have Puck podcast. You can follow Katie on Twitter @katie_brown47.

%d bloggers like this: