John Carlson has been out of the Washington lineup since late February but, to hear him explain it, he won’t be for much longer.
Sidelined the past nine games, Carlson took part in Washington’s morning skate ahead of Friday’s game against Nashville and proclaimed himself to be “pretty darn close” to returning to the lineup. He first suffered a lower-body injury back in December, returned too soon just before the All-Star break and hasn’t played in a game since undergoing an undisclosed procedure on Feb. 27.
But Carlson skated for the first time since the procedure Monday and he is eligible to come off the long-term injured reserve list Sunday when the Capitals play at Pittsburgh.
Carlson, who’s only appeared in 47 games this year, has been productive offensively — 31 points — and is coming off a breakthrough campaign in which he finished top-10 in All-Star and Norris voting.
So, needless to say, his return will be a welcome one.
Once the 26-year-old is back healthy and playing, Washington will be an even more fearsome playoff opponent. The Caps are essentially at 100 percent full health, which will undoubtedly help them in their quest to get past the second round for the first time since 1998.