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.