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Carlson Doesn’t Hold Back, Admits He & Capitals Aren’t Living Up To Expectations

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Washington Capitals

As the Washington Capitals continue to struggle to open the 2022-23 season, John Carlson didn’t hold back on criticizing himself or the team’s performance.

The 32-year-old had some strong words for the play he’s been seeing in D.C. so far this season and spoke candidly with the Capitals dropping four in a row and nine of their last 11 games.

“It’s very challenging. We expect a lot out of ourselves,” Carlson said. “I can speak for myself not living up to expectations of myself and of the team and everything. So it’s very frustrating.”

Carlson, who has finished in the top 12 in Norris Trophy voting for four straight seasons, has five goals and six assists through 14 games this season and is a minus-5. No. 74 has been on the ice for 23 goals against, leading all defensemen and ranking third among all Washington skaters.

As a team, Washington sits second-to-last in the Metropolitan Division with a 7-10-3 record and has struggled in several different areas. The Capitals are lacking chemistry on offense at 5-on-5 and on the power play, and the blue line isn’t clicking as well as it did last season, either.

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Taking that, and the injuries up front and Thanksgiving posing a potential marker for postseason candidates, Carlson believes this skid is a bit harder to overcome than most.

“This whole beginning of this season has been rocky. So I think from that aspect it makes it harder, too. But like, if you’re just gonna look at a 10-12 game segment, there’s been almost every year that we’ve had a bad one of those. There’s obviously a lot more pressure from here until the end now, but that’s how we gotta think of it and keep coming to the rink and working at things that need to be worked on,” Carlson said.

The Capitals will have the opportunity to break out on Wednesday when they host the struggling Philadelphia Flyers, who have dropped seven straight When it comes to rebounding, No. 74 said that it depends on several factors, and it starts with the attitude in the room.

“f you’re gonna come in and feel sorry for yourself the momentum’s not gonna change and that’s on us to keep it fun and keep it engaged and keep it in a good spot where guys want to be here and want to work through this and make it worth it on the other side,” Carlson said, adding, “Mentally, expectations and reality are different right now. And we’re focused on just trying to change that reality. No matter who’s in and who’s out, we got enough players in here who can win a lot of hockey games. That’s how we feel and that’s up to us to change.”

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