Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson will be making his first trip to the Olympics to represent the United States.
As Katie Carrera of The Washington Post shares, Caps coach Adam Oates believes playing on the big stage in Sochi will make him a better player down the stretch
“I don’t worry about it based on [workload] because I think the Olympics will energize him,” Coach Adam Oates said. “I think he’ll zero his focus in again…. You’re going to play with the best players in the world at the highest level. So for one week I think it will, if nothing else, re-energize him.”
Carlson, 24, has played internationally before in the World Junior Championships, but incorporating the condensed NHL schedule and the jam-packed Olympic schedule could be an issue for some players.
This season, Carlson has 10 goals and 23 points in 59 games. He trails only Mike Green among defensemen on the team in scoring. If he can pick up his play following the Olympics, the Capitals could sure use the lift as they’re one point back of the final wild card spot in the East.
The New Jersey Devils have an interesting problem on the blue line. They have a glut of young talent itching to stay in the NHL.
Defensemen Eric Gelinas, Jon Merrill, and Adam Larsson are all players the Devils value highly, yet Merrill is the only one currently on the New Jersey roster as older veterans hold down the fort.
So what gives? GM Lou Lamoriello isn’t looking to speed up their development as Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice shares.
“Adam Larsson, Gelly and Merrill, they’re all going to be in the NHL. They’ll all be here,” Lamoriello said. “We’re not going to rush them. We’re going to make sure – if they have to go up, if they have to go down – they get their complete game together so that it’s on a consistent basis. It’s nothing personal with them. It’s nothing that they’re doing wrong. It’s the experience that’s needed. Different styles of play need different experiences. We’ll do everything we can so once they’re here they’ll be a solid contributing factor and play the minutes that are necessary to play.”
A big thing to keep in mind here: Gelinas and Merrill are 22 years old and Larsson is 21. It’s not like they’re rotting on the vine in the AHL at Albany. With veteran players like Anton Volchenkov, Marek Zidlicky, and captain Bryce Salvador locked in place, there’s not much room for the younger guys.
They’ll eventually have their time in the sun, it’s just not going to be right away. Sorry Devils fans, Lou’s orders.
TORONTO — Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella wants you to point the finger at him when it comes to the team’s losing ways of late.
The Canucks lost their seventh straight game after dropping a 3-1 game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night. Following the game, Tortorella owned up to the team’s recent slide and put the losses squarely on his and the coaching staff’s shoulders.
“It’s pretty obvious the coaching staff here has not done a good job teaching details of situational play,” Tortorella said. “Third period, wall play, underneath the puck – we just have not done a good enough job because our guys are just not consistent at it. It’s going to be a huge focus as we get through this break and get ready to play again.”
The Canucks went into the third period holding a 1-0 lead over the Leafs, but goals from Mason Raymond, Phil Kessel, and James van Riemsdyk put Toronto over the top.
“It’s the way it’s going but we can’t be in that situation,” Tortorella said. “We can’t let the momentum change in that third period the way it did. And that’s details. I need to take full responsibility for that. Obviously I have not taught that well enough because we continue to make the same mistakes in crucial times of the game. You guys may not see the little things that happen before goals, we do. That’s situational play and we have not been consistent enough with it.”
The Olympic break comes at an ideal time for the Canucks. Not only are they mired in a losing streak, but they’re without five regular players. Forwards Henrik Sedin and Mike Santorelli and defensemen Kevin Bieksa, Christopher Tanev, and Yannick Weber.
“Mentally and physically hopefully we’ll get some bodies back also,” Tortorella said about the Olympic break. “It was a dog’s breakfast as far as the [road] trip, three in a row losing them all. We’re in a spiral so it couldn’t come for a better time mentally and getting guys back also.”