John Carlson Joining Capitals For Practice, Team Provides Update
The Washington Capitals got a great sign on Wednesday, as John Carlson is taking the ice for practice with his teammates for the first time since he was hit in the face with a slapshot on Dec. 23.
ARLINGTON, V.A. — The Washington Capitals got a great sign on Wednesday, as John Carlson is taking the ice for practice with his teammates for the first time since he was hit in the face with a slapshot on Dec. 23.
He will be in a non-contact jersey. It's a step in the right direction, but the team said that he is still a ways away from returning to play. He has another doctor's appointment this week to track his progress.
Carlson has been skating in the morning on his own in full gear with coach Wendy Marco and getting individual work in. General manager Brian MacLellan said on Friday there was a "set timeframe" for Carlson's return, and the team can start to get "serious" about him slotting back into the lineup in late March.
"It's going to be on him, how he's progressing, how he feels, and we'll kind of make a decision with him and our staff, the medical staff and trainers," MacLellan said.
The standings will have no impact on whether or not the 33-year-old defensemen returns to the lineup, as he hopes to get some games in regardless of if his team is still in the playoff race or not.
Through 30 games this season, Carlson has eight goals and 13 assists for 21 points.
Getting him back will be a major boost for the group. His absence has been noticeable as the team has missed its top-pairing defenseman and power-play quarterback, which arguably led to struggles across the board.
"John went down, and that's where I think our inconsistency started," MacLellan said of the team's season. "It's hard to replace a guy like him. We bumped guys up in the lineup, increased their minutes, which most of them handled well. But it's still not the same as having John in there playing both power play and penalty kill. So I do think it had a big effect on the results from the end of December on, contributed to what I would call inconsistencies."