We're almost a month into the Capitals' season and we're still waiting for them to be completely healthy. In a sport as violent as hockey, that day may never come, but we seem to be getting closer and closer. Having said that, here is the latest on the status of two of the Caps' defenders for tonight's game.
With Poti and Sloan out it also means that young John Carlson will continue to play a bigger role then we might have expected heading into the season. Our Capitals blog Japers' Rink evaluated the position Carlson has been thrust into, and just how well he has been filling it.
Carlson's six points are tied for third-best among all rookies and tied for fourth-best on the team (although it's been awhile since he registered a point, perhaps as a result of the additional burden he's taken on). While he's been on the ice for twelve goals against, he's also been on the ice for fourteen Caps' goals and is a +3 on the season so far. He's remained poised despite being asked to substitute for not one but two key players on the Washington blue line so early in the season, despite playing without the consistency of a regular defensive partner, and despite battling an injury of his own.
Carlson is just 20 years old, so growing pains are to be expected. But Carlson has shown the flashes of potential that got Caps fans to excited about him this summer. Would he be playing this much if not for the injuries ahead of him? Probably not. But all things considered, he has responded pretty well. Japers' sums it up.
He is, as expected, a talented young player with tremendous upside and the potential to someday take his place among the best defensemen in the League.
After seeing the early returns, however, it's clear that the key word remains "someday".