Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson was back in the locker room on Tuesday, paying a visit to his teammates as they faced the Buffalo Sabres. He has ways to go toward recovery, but he is in high spirits.
Head coach Peter Laviolette provided an update on the 32-year-old, who is out long-term after taking a slap shot to the face on Dec. 23 against the Winnipeg Jets.
"I saw him last night, he actually feels good," Laviolette said, adding, "He looked good to me, when you saw him the next day or the day after. He looked good last night, he sounded good, he looked good, which was really positive for us to see."
The incident left him bleeding profusely, and he was taken to a hospital for further evaluation. He was discharged on Christmas Eve and has since been home recovering. Laviolette said that he had received "a bunch of stitches" and wasn't going to be back for a bit following the play.
Carlson is on the injured reserve, and, with Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson expected to return in the next couple of games, he will likely go on the LTIR to open cap space up. It will likely be a month-to-month timeline for No. 74.
"Still a long road for him," Laviolette explained.
In 30 games this season, Carlson has eight goals and 13 assists, and he was again playing a key role in generating offense from the blue line at even strength and on the power play. With him out, Erik Gustafsson has stepped up to compensate for that loss in production, while Trevor van Riemsdyk has taken Carlson's spot on the top pairing.