John Carlson understands we’re living in a pandemic and he gets why the NHL created a schedule where teams only play foes in their same division this season.
“Obviously, this is great for what we’re trying to accomplish and the best way to do it,” Carlson said during a post-morning skate interview on Tuesday.
But that does not mean he has to personally like it.
“No. Absolutely not,” Carlson said when asked if he’d want to extend this regular-season format in the future. “I would never vote for something like this.”
Carlson did admit that the new schedule and re-alignment has had some early positives for the team.
“I think it’s been great for our team early on with a new coach and a lot of new players,” he said. “I think a lot of it is video and learning, seeing your mistakes, seeing your successes, and you get a lot of day-to-day feedback when you do play teams so close together and so many times. I think from that standpoint, it’s been great for us early on the season to learn.”
He then added, “But yeah, I like it how it was.”
So far, the Capitals are thriving in the new format. They’ve captured nine out of a possible 12 standings points after six games against the Buffalo Sabres (4) and Pittsburgh Penguins (2).
While some hockey analysts believed the scheduling would lead to some heated rivlaries and good television, Carlson hasn’t seen that pan out yet.
“It can,” he said. “It’s early, we haven’t played too many games yet. It’s not like we’re playing these teams once a year as it is. There’s plenty to go off of in the past with people in your conference. I think definitely you’ll see as time goes on here this season progresses, you’ll see some of that rivalry mentality.”
Tuesday night, the Capitals will have their first crack at the New York Islanders who unceremoniously dumped the Capitals out of the playoffs in five games during the 2020 playoffs. The Capitals were expected to challenge for a championship, but instead got rocked by their former Stanley Cup-winning bench boss in Barry Trotz.
“We saw these guys last year and it didn’t end anywhere close to what we expect of ourselves,” Carlson said.
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