After having one goal go off his skate and in, watching Evander Kane speed by him for another and having a view from the penalty box of a different Winnipeg Jets goal, Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson said it wasn’t his best game.
“But it’s not the end of the world,” the 22-year-old said.
Assistant coach and ex-Caps defenseman Calle Johansson said focus was the issue with Carlson.
“He’s a great defenseman. Sometimes with John maybe the game comes a little, almost, too easy. He is such a talented guy, so hockey to him is so natural and so easy. I think maybe focus for the whole game,” Johansson said. “Sometimes when things come easy to you, you take it for granted. And that’s when you’re not on top maybe all the time. I think just the focus part would be for him to think about a little bit.”
On the delay of game penalty in the first period against the Jets, Carlson made a mistake that might have affected his play the rest of the way.
“It can maybe. That’s also thing that if it does throw you off your game, that’s something you have to get away from,” Johansson said. “I know even when I played, when you made the bad play, you might think about for a period or so, and you can’t let it happen. But I know it’s easier said than done.”
Johansson said he did not think conditioning was an issue for Carlson, who, like the rest of the Caps’ defensemen, did not play during the NHL lockout.
“I think I feel pretty good out there, to be honest. My conditioning and stuff, I feel fast and strong but for defensemen especially timing,” Carlson said. “For forwards, they don’t look as bad when their timing is off. Maybe they just get it deep instead of making a play. I think defensemen it’s a lot of stick work is stuff that we rely on and that’s going to come with time I guess, that’s why we’re here we’re working on it and soon enough it will be back to normal.”
Despite some early struggles, Johansson is a big believer in Carlson.
“He’s capable, trust me. He’s capable of anything anybody can do in this league,” Johansson said. “He is one of the top defensemen. I think just the focus for 60 full minutes.”