USA Hockey 2014 Olympic Portraits

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

Over the summer, Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson was invited to Team USA’s orientation camp held at the Caps’ practice facility in Ballston, Virginia. At that point in time, Carlson was a bit of an afterthought for the team: he was arguably there more to excite the hometown fans than actually challenge for a roster spot.

Four months later, Carlson, after taking advantage of more opportunity due to injuries on the Caps blue line, was named to Team USA’s roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The announcement was made on NBC after the Winter Classic.

The accomplishment is well earned. The 23-year-old Natick, Massachusetts-native (who spent most of his childhood living in New Jersey) is tied for second amongst American-born NHL defenseman with 7 goals. Only the Boston Bruins’ Torey Krug (8) has more. He also ranks 14th in points (15) and fifth in ice time (24:41).

A few days before the announcement, head coach Adam Oates was asked if Carlson deserved a spot. He was not shy about what he thought. “To me, that’s an easy answer,” Oates said to CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley. “He should be on it because he’s one of the best defensemen in the league.”

When I spoke to Caps assistant coach Calle Johansson one-on-one after practice on Saturday, he was even stronger with his words.

“Absolutely,” when I asked if Carlson should make the team. “No doubt about it. If there are six D better than him, or three on the right side, whatever you want to say, I’d be shocked.”

“I see this guy play everyday and there won’t be three better defensemen than John Carlson in this league,” Johansson concluded.

Now the next question is: will Carlson actually get a jersey during the games? That answer will be known soon enough, but here’s hoping, if he gets an opportunity, Carly has another gold medal goal on his stick this year.

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  • Owen Johnson

    When they announced him, I cheered so loud I scared my cat.

  • Psowen

    Damned proud of RAHJC!!!!

  • [Shakes head] I think you mean, Captain America. (Illustration by the awesome Rachel Cohen)

  • Freedoooom

    I’m pretty surprised about the D corp. A lot of young guys and then washed up Orpik.

    Also Callahan and Brown making the team is ridiculous, especially over Ryan. Parise is supposedly injured and may not make the Olympics so Ryan could take that spot I guess.

  • Bob

    That 2010 world junior game was one of the best hockey games i have ever seen. Happy for the kid, he deserves it

  • Dara Goldberg

    So happy he made it, we all literally cheered when he was announced. So bummed you guys don’t give NJ the shout-out! We take so much shit as a state, we have to take what we can get, especially when it’s an Olympic bound hockey player like Carlson! He was born in MA, but grew up in NJ and am pretty sure he considers himself from the great state of NJ.

  • Refresh the post, I added a special shout-out just for you, Dara, and the lovely people (and Roy Rogers restaurants) of New Jersey.

  • Guest

    So excited!! We all literally cheered when it was announced. But give NJ some credit here boys, he was born in MA, but grew up in the great state of NJ. We take a lot of shit from the rest of the country, we have to make sure the internet knows an Olympic bound hockey player was raised in our little piece of the US! 😉

  • Dara Goldberg

    Hahah thanks!!! 😉

  • Chris Cerullo

    Yea my happiness over RAHJC making the team was overshadowed by David “I’ve never won anything in my life” Poile making some stupid, stupid, stupid decisions.

  • Chris Cerullo

    So when do we kill Bylsma after he makes him the 7th/8th D?

  • By kill, I hope you mean, eviscerate verbally. 😀 And probably in February.

  • Freedoooom

    “John Carlson, whose power-play time has shrunk in Washington, gets some favorable reviews. Could he move into a second spot on the right side playing with McDonagh?

    “I don’t know if he’s out of the picture or not,” Poile says.

    “Can anybody get Carlson ahead of Faulk or Shattenkirk?” Poile asks.


    From Burnsides article… Not sure what this means. I think he and McDonagh would be a great pairing. Both can block shots without ridiculously throwing themselves on the ice, which is really really important for big ice.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Heads up:

    Washington Capitals ‏@washcaps1m

    If you are in DC come congratulate @JohnCarlson74 in front of the White House (Penn btw 17th & 15th) this evening @ 7pm! #CarlsonUSA

  • KG

    USA – Carly
    Russia – Ovie
    Sweeden – Nicky B

    Canada – Alzner, Holtby
    Germany – Grubee
    Sweeden – MoJo
    Czech – Marty, Neuvy
    Belarus – Grabo
    Russia – Kuzya

    No Effin Way:
    Canada – Greener

    Missing anyone?

  • Pat

    Not a chance Alzner makes Canada

  • I’d roll with that guy any day of the week. He is a winner.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Neither Germany or Belarus are in the Olympics for hockey

  • JH

    Erat is a lock for Czech Republic.

  • JenniferH

    Ahhhh, so happy for Carlson!!! YAY!!!!

  • Shaun Phillips

    Big ice surface and no yandle? That’s going to bite the US. JC is probably one of the 2 good skating d-men on the team. Needed more than that.

  • Pat

    I agree, he still wont make the team though. Canada is to deep with great 2 way defensemen.

  • Freedoooom

    They are all good skaters besides maybe Orpik.

  • Margaret McGuire

    Captain America photoshop by me 🙂

  • Yeah. We’re a Captain America blog. If you want RAHJC, you can go to the Distinguished Competition across the street.


    Here’s that article. It’s fascinating, and I’ve lost my last shred of respect for Burkie’s evaluation skills.

  • so cool

  • Psowen

    My bad. I forget that the “Lifestyle” section of the newspaper gets its panties in a wad when someone uses “A” section verbiage, even when making a congratulatory post about a favorite public figure. Won’t happen again.

  • Psowen, I hope you realize these are all jokes. Our figurative blog panties are not actually wadded. [hugs] I love your enthusiasm.

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    God I am happy! Yesterday I was like “they better select Carlson to play of else bylsma hates him because he is a cap” lol

  • Psowen

    Entirely possible I’ve had an over abundance of grain spirits today. Now I’m feeling maudlin. So I’ll just leave this here…

    P.S. – love this blog!

  • love u too ))))

  • Matt Root

    I’m so with this but I’d add one more to the Ryan and Yandle you and Shaun brought up and that would be Jack Johnson. That was one who I thought was an automatic lock. I was blown away not seeing him and Ryan on the roster. He can block shots well and has a hard shot that works great on the PP.And to top it off, he’s had captain experience on the WC USA teams.

  • Freedoooom

    Well it seems him and Tallon were the Jones’ detractor the whole entire time. Poile, Lombardi and the coaching staff seem to have agreed to include Jones.

    Right off the bat they dismissive of Trouba and Dekeyser of not being able to handle the Olympics, but Jones is?