Capitals’ Head Coach Todd Reirden is Noncommittal About John Carlson Playing in Monday’s Round-Robin Opener Against the Lightning

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On Sunday, Washington Capitals head coach Todd Reirden spoke to the media on a Zoom call from Hotel X in Toronto. He gave an update on defenseman John Carlson and stated goaltender Braden Holtby will start in Monday’s round-robin game against the Tampa Bay Lightning with Vitek Vanecek as the backup.

On Carlson, Reirden said the 30-year-old defenseman did receive more treatment Saturday night and was expected to attend today’s practice. Carlson left Wednesday’s exhibition game after crashing into the boards in the third period with a Carolina Hurricanes skater. His legs got tangled in his skates but he skated off and was able to make it down the tunnel on his own. The defenseman missed Thursday’s practice but returned to the ice on Saturday.

“He’s such an important part of our team,” Reirden said. The head coach reiterated how they are not going to put any player of the team at risk of a situation or “reaggravate an injury” that would potentially cause a chance for Carlson to miss playing. “He’s such a large part of our team obviously…a guy that had a tremendous year and is a huge part of our blue line.”

Holtby will start the Capitals’ round-robin game on Monday against Tampa Bay and Vanecek will be the backup.

“The excitement is mounting,” Reirden said. “Players are excited, just excited to be playing hockey, excited to be here…certainly I’m excited as a coach to be able to do the thing I love best and that’s coaching hockey and helping the Washington Capitals achieve their dreams and their goals.”

The video coaches have been “breaking down” the Capitals’ opponents for the round-robin (Lightning, Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins). Reirden said it’s been a “fun time” to watch a lot of hockey and do some scouting and just have overall quality time with the coaching staff.

By Della Young

About Della Young

Della Young is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter who earned a BFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University in 2021. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Screenwriting from Regent University. Della comes from a family of big Capitals fans and became inspired to start writing for hockey in 2019. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and working on both sides of the camera. Follow Della on X: @dellayoung
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