Tuesday night at Verizon Center, former Capitals defenseman Connor Carrick will be playing the second game in his former barn since being traded. While Carrick struggled at times during his stint in Washingon, he’s turning into a very dependable player for Toronto.
In 32 games this season, Carrick has scored only one goal and registered four points. But his possession tells a different story. The five-foot, eleven-inch defenseman has pushed play, ranking second on the team with a 53.99% score and venue adjusted Corsi. The only player he trails is Jake Gardiner.
After the team’s morning skate, Carrick spoke about his familiarity in Washington, as well as his longtime friendship with “big boy” Tom Wilson.
Obviously you’ve got a history with a bit of these guys, what’s it like in your position playing up against a gregarious, outgoing fellow like Tom Wilson?
Connor Carrick: Yeah, he hasn’t gotten any smaller since I got traded, he’s a big boy. I played with him in juniors, I saw a lot of what he was able to do. It was kind of cool, we came in together at 19. We’re in the hotel together – kind of going through our first games. He’s a guy that you’ll always be linked with.
You’ve only played three games with Barry Trotz, but [you’re] obviously not surprised how this team sort of transitioned from an offensive team to a best defensive club in the way.
Connor Carrick: Yeah, Coach Trotz came in. He harped on a lot of the things that you hear throughout the league. You know that stick detail, having a kind of hunter’s mentality on defense and being good. It’s something that, I wasn’t around for a lot of games, but the training camps and things like that, you learn a lot. A lot of the parallels carried down to Hershey too. So we had similar goals for how we tried to play down there and it’s something that you always bring with you. It’s kind of your cup of hockey knowledge. You carry it always. It’s something that from time-to-time you refer back to, and you try to remember different things that helped you.
Look at the five game win streak you guys are on now. Is going up against a team like the Capitals, who are kind of perennial contenders, is that a litmus test for you guys of where you’re really at as you move up to this playoff line as well?
Connor Carrick: Yeah, I mean, there’s that certain group of teams at the top of the league now that have kind of been there for a couple of years. Washington’s one of them, and if you want to maintain these streaks… you’ve gotta establish yourself that way. To be amongst them, you’ve gotta go through them.
Your dad’s had the fathers’ trip with Washington, now with Toronto. Given the sacrifices your family’s made for you along the way, how good is this to have him come here and enjoy all of this?
Connor Carrick: It’s awesome. As a kid, you want to be able to give experiences back to your dad. He’s given me so much, and I don’t think I’ll ever come close to evening the ledger, so to speak. It’s just another hockey experience that we get to have with each other. It’s not just with me. He loves hanging out with the other dads and hearing their stories and listening a bit. It’s a good group of guys in this room. I’m sure the dads are all the same as we get to know them. Good people come from good people.
A photo posted by Connor Carrick (@connorcarrick) on
All stats from Corsica. Transcription by Madeline Dement. Headline photo: Chris Gordon
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