Carlson: Caps' defense ready to take on GM's challenge

Chris Lingebach
November 27, 2019 - 4:30 pm
Carlson: Caps' defense ready to take on GM's challenge

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If there's one area the Capitals, the top team in the NHL, can manage to improve their game, it's on the blue line.

Defensively, there have been "some inconsistencies," Capitals GM Brian MacLellan recently told 106.7 The Fan, before doubling down on that criticism this week to reporters.

John Carlson, Washington's defensive leader and alternate captain, doesn't view their GM's candor as a shot by any means, but rather a needed challenge.

"I think he's a very honest guy," Carlson said during his weekly 106.7 The Fan appearance with Chad Dukes, presented by The Purple Heart.

"I think he calls it how he sees it," he added. "I think we can all play a lot better back there. It's not a shot at us, but I think it's s situation where as defensemen, as a leader, you want to make things right, try to get everyone on the same page as much as possible and fix some mistakes that have been creeping into our game over the last week or two. I think that's just constantly assessing the situation and trying to make ourselves the best players."

"I think any player or competitive guy, we need to get challenged every once in awhile," he said. "No one wants someone breathing down their neck every single day, but it is nice to get a little shot and roll with it, and learn to get better and kind of play with that fire inside."

Carlson addressed the heavily swirling rumors that the Capitals may travel to Russia for a regular-season game next year, as part of the NHL's international games initiative to promote the game globally.

"I think we're top of the list in terms of high-profile Russian players, so it would make sense on the surface," said Carlson. "I think if you talk to other guys around the league, there are so many teams in different countries – Germany, Finland, Sweden, places like that – I think it's a great idea. It's a great chance to grow the game."

"I think the travel is very, very tough on teams," he noted. "And kind of trying to schedule it in the right part of the season with enough time to kind of re-acclimate yourself is important, and I'm sure they're going through all that. I don't have any more info than you on whether it's gonna happen and when that would be, but I think just being in a different country than you're used to would be a cool experience."

Carlson begins at the 21:40 mark below.