Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson spoke to the media for the final time this season during Tuesday’s Breakdown Day. He discussed another tough first-round exit for the team, dealing with a knee injury, and why he believes the Capitals are still a contender for a second Stanley Cup.
The 31-year-old said he “felt able to play” during their short postseason run, but “would’ve liked to [have felt] better.” Carlson noted that he hurt his knee late in the regular season, which occurred from blocking a shot in the 1-0 win over the New York Islanders on April 27. Carlson is unsure if he’ll need surgery.
“We had a really good team this year,” he said despite not coming “close to our goal, which is the worst part about it.” Carlson added, “From my standpoint, we have a lot of talent and a lot of ability to do great things out there.”
On fellow blueliner Zdeno Chara, Carlson said “that’s a personal decision for him” on whether he continues playing. “He brought so much greatness to our organization…I certainly cherish our time we had with him and learned a lot…I’m glad that he was here.”
“We have a great chance to win,” Carlson said about the team bringing the Cup back to D.C. again. He said the Capitals have “top-tier caliber players up and down our lineup.” “We underperformed and didn’t even reach anywhere close to anyone’s expectations, he said, adding, “With that said, I think we got the horses in there to win again.”
Going back to the Capitals’ third consecutive exits in the first round, Carlson said it was “poor performance, poor luck in certain points…if anyone could put their finger on it, it would be change..it’s obviously a process we’ll all go through and learn from and try to get better from.” He also said, “We certainly aren’t accepting a loss…we needed to go out there and make it better for us and we didn’t. We didn’t use our opportunities to our advantage and that’s not a winning formula, especially in the playoffs.”
Carlson doesn’t believe the age of the team played a factor in the losses or will hinder the Capitals from being a Stanley Cup contender. He said “being around everybody and seeing what they’re capable of on the ice” gives him that confidence. “I’m really confident in this group,” the blueliner said.
By Della Young