Photo: Streeter Lecka
Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson scored the United States’ first goal of the Olympic tournament Thursday. Team USA head coach Dan Bylsma had a lot of great things to say about him.
“I thought to get our feet underneath us, especially those young guys on defense, I thought they played large,” Blysma said to NBC. “We have Paul Martin and [Ryan] Suter back there, but Cam Fowler and John Carlson in particular, and Ryan McDonagh, played well on the back side.”
He also said it was “fitting” that Carlson scored the first goal.
But boy can things change in a hurry.
Playing Team Russia on Saturday, Carlson was on the ice for Russia’s first goal of the game, a beautiful split-the-defense breakaway goal by Pavel Datsyuk.
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Carlson was essentially benched afterwards, receiving just a handful of few shifts after that. In total he received 3:56 of ice time for the game: 1:46 in the first period, 1:54 in the second, and 16 seconds in the third.
The United States’ dress seven defensemen during games. While Carlson is one of the bottom-pairing guys, in the United States’ 7-1 victory over Slovakia Thursday he received 13:17 of ice time. Saturday was a ten-minute deduction.
On Sunday, the United States will take on Slovenia in their final game in the preliminary round. We will see how much Carlson actually plays and whether or not he is a big part of Team USA’s plans moving forward.