Capitals defenseman John Carlson left Friday’s Capitals-Jets game after being hit in the head by a slap shot. The 32-year-old rearguard was transported to a hospital for precautionary reasons after the injury, discharged the following day, and placed on injured reserve by the Capitals on Tuesday.
After the team’s morning skate in New York on Tuesday, head coach Peter Laviolette gave an update on Carlson’s injury status.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 27, 2022
“I texted with him that night and I talked with him the next day,” Laviolette started. “He’s doing good. He’s out longterm right now and continuing to get looked at by the doctors.
“If it was two (games) to seven (days), our lingo, we’d say day-to-day. But, he’ll be past day-to-day.”
In 30 games for the Caps this season, Carlson has recorded 21 points (8g, 13a). He is also the team’s time on ice leader as he plays on average 23:24 of ice time per game.
“He’s certainly an important player,” Laviolette said. “We talked about it this morning. Our guys have to be ready for this challenge. To give more, to do more, and to keep things moving.”
This is Carlson’s second stint on the injured reserve already this season. He suffered a lower-body injury against the Nashville Predators in late October that kept him out of the lineup for six games.
His absence comes when the Capitals are the hottest they have been all season. The team is 9-2-1 in the month of December and Carlson himself had begun to turn the corner into a true five-on-five force with defense partner Erik Gustafsson.
In their last 15 games together, the duo has played over 203 minutes at five-on-five and with them, on the ice, the Capitals are absolutely dominating other teams to the tune of seeing 58.2-percent of the shot attempts, 64.8-percent of the expected goals, 58.1-percent of the scoring chances, 64.6-percent of the high-danger chances, and holding a plus-three goal differential.
Carlson also plays 4:21 of power play ice time per game (second on Caps) and 1:53 of shorthanded ice time per game (sixth on Caps). It will now be up to other defenders to carry a lot of that load. Trevor van Riemsdyk will skate next to Gustafsson in Carlson’s absence.
“He’s an important guy,” Laviolette said of Carlson. “With that, as it has been really all year, comes opportunity. Other guys will step up. That’s how we’ve done it the entire year. We’ve needed guys to step up, fill shoes, and fill minutes. It’s no different here with John.”
Headline photo: Alan Dobbins/RMNB
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