Washington Capitals head coach Todd Reirden told the media on Thursday that the hope is that defenseman John Carlson will return to practice on Saturday after he missed Thursday’s practice. The team is scheduled to take Friday off.
Reirden on Carlson: “He’s a really important guy for our team and had a tremendous season. Did a lot of good things in the game. Fell a little bit awkwardly, got tangled up. So we kept him off today. We’ll evaluate it every day, and best hope is to have him back on Saturday.”
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) July 30, 2020
The 30-year-old left the Capitals’ exhibition game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday after crashing into the boards in the third period with a Hurricanes skater. He missed over half of the period. His legs got tangled in his skates but skated off, meaning that he was taken off likely for precautionary reasons.
UPDATE: Carlson did return after this incident to play one more shift (34 sec) never returned after. pic.twitter.com/wuRA5gtZLn
— Here’s Your Replay 2 ⬇️ (@TheReplayGuy) July 30, 2020
He got down the tunnel on his own.
The team cannot afford to lose Carlson, who led the team and all NHL defensemen with 75 points in 69 regular-season games, as he averaged 24:37 per game during the regular season, the most on the Capitals. He is a finalist for the Norris Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s best defenseman.
The Capitals are not in action again until Monday when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning in their round-robin tournament opener (4 PM ET, NBCSN nationally, NBC Sports Washington locally), giving Carlson some time to rest, but the round-robin games are only for seeding, so the team has already clinched the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The tournament is set to begin on Tuesday, August 11.
By Harrison Brown