John Carlson is having a breakout year. During the 2017-18 regular season alone, he recored a career-high 68 points to lead all defensemen.
Over the course of the 2017-18 postseason, Carlson continued to rack up playoff points and tallied his 54th to equal Calle Johansson for the most points by a defenseman in Capitals franchise history. Carlson also became the third defenseman in NHL history to record 3+ assist playoff games.
Carlson’s hockey career, however, had some humble beginnings, back in the non-hockey town of Colonia, New Jersey.
In a feature about Carlson’s childhood, posted by NBC Sports, his family and junior coaches reminisced on the milestones he has hit on his road to the Stanley Cup Final.
“John first skated at about three years old,” Richard Carlson, John’s father, said of when he first took to the ice. “They had little old helmets that I think I had left over from when I was a kid. They didn’t really like it, their feet hurt. A lot of crying, a lot of tears. But after going a few times and starting to get the hang of it, both Andrew and John enjoyed it.”
As Carlson grew, so too did his love of hockey.
“By the time he was six or seven years old, he couldn’t get enough,” Richard added. “He really enjoyed the game and the competing aspect of it. He took to it right away.”
Carlson credited his father with playing a significant role in the direction he took with his hockey, particularly as a coach during his early years on the ice.
“My father, he coached me for a couple of years, and was always that coach-ish figure for me growing up,” Carlson said. “I think I owe a lot to him for all of that work that he put in.”
He wasn’t alone on the ice. Carlson’s brother, Andrew, joined him when time allowed. “Now, looking back, it was some of the best times of my life,” he said. “My brother was there with me for most of it too, if our schedules matched up.”
Colonia, New Jersey, where Carlson grew up and played during his early years, was not a hockey town. However, when Carlson made the U.S. junior team, and scored the game-winning goal in overtime to bring back 2010 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships gold, as well as his efforts at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, that all changed.
“His town was not really what you’d consider, in most cases, a hockey town,” Carlson’s mother, Angela Dalle-Molle said.” But certainly when John made the Olympics, and people got to know our family, they all stood behind him and now we have lots of great hockey fans in Colonia.”
Dean Blais, the coach of the gold-medal winning U.S. National Junior team, had high praise for the defenseman. “John Carlson excelled the bigger the game, the better he got.”
Of course, with a junior gold medal under his belt, as well as being named to the Olympic roster in 2014 — though he missed out on a bronze medal — there’s one honor that his mother feels will top all of those moments.
“If John were to win the Stanley Cup, I feel it would be his pinnacle of his hockey career,” Dalle-Molle said. “And I think just seeing his joy would be the most joyful thing ever.”
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.