Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson said that new head coach Peter Laviolette’s system is “not that much different over the years.” He described it as some variation compared to others that he has played throughout his career.
Carlson told the media that it is “not ideal” to open the season in 10 days but “it is what it is.” He added that it is the “most effective way to get as many games in as we can.”
On the Capitals adding Zdeno Chara and three other defensemen over the offseason, Carlson said “I think we’ve got a lot of great players back there. … It’s cool to be able to learn from [Chara] and being on the same side as him.”
“The mantra from coach is to get going right away. It’s going to be a whacky year,” Carlson responded when asked about the upcoming season.
When asked if it feels different not having former head coach Todd Reirden, who was fired on August 23 after six seasons with the organization, Carlson said “I’ve played for many different coaches over my career.” He understands that changes will be made if the team does not have success and added that “We’re excited to start fresh.”
When discussing this offseason, Carlson said the goal was to “try to come in as prepared as you can. … Just bare down … put everything bad behind you and just prepare. … It’s important to work as hard as you can right off the hop.”
On learning from Chara, the former Boston Bruins’ captain and a veteran of 1553 NHL games, Carlson said “I think you can learn from anybody. … Certainly, his leadership is a big asset for our team to have, how he goes about his business. … He’s seen a thing or two.”
Carlson said “we know each other pretty well and think we can move the puck pretty well. He’s a great player who can do a lot of great things,” when asked about starting training camp on a defensive pairing with Dmitry Orlov.
He told the media that the lower-body injury sustained in the exhibition game against the Carolina Hurricanes on July 29 “didn’t stop me from preparing for this season.” Carlson missed the round-robin tournament recovering from the injury.
When asked about the difference between dressing seven defensemen and six for a game, Carlson said “It’s few on far between. Whatever the coaches decide we’re going to go with.” He said that he will answer the bell when called upon. “I wouldn’t think anything different than going in with six [defensemen],” he added.
On the parallel between Chara and former Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik, Carlson told the media that “We obviously miss [Orpik]. I think [there are a lot of parallels]. Someone who’s been in a different organization [will bring a new aspect].”
“It’s definitely weird. He’s been a constant my whole career. … It’s different. … I do miss him,” Carlson said on experiencing a training camp without former Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who signed a two-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks as an unrestricted free agent on October 9 after 10 seasons on the team. The two also won a Calder Cup with the AHL’s Hershey Bears together in 2010.
By Harrison Brown