Reirden: Carlson now 'the' guy on Caps blue line

Chris Lingebach
October 17, 2019 - 2:09 pm
Reirden: Carlson now 'the' guy for Capitals

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John Carlson is off to a furious offensive start to the 2019-20 season, leading the entire Eastern Conference with 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) after eight games.

There's a reason Carlson, who's now an assistant captain, has had such an improved presence on the ice.

"John's had a really strong start to the season and it's a major credit to the work that he put in this summer," Capitals coach Todd Reirden told The Sports Junkies during his bi-weekly appearance, presented by Sheehy Auto Stores.

"Being a local guy, I see him a fair amount in the summer, with myself staying in the area as well in the summer time," said Reirden. "He knew this year was gonna be different, with some different defensemen, different partners potentially at the start of the year. And his role on our team was gonna be a little bit different. He was now gonna for sure be 'the' guy back there on the blue line.

"Not that he wasn't, in terms of his play, with Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen on our team, but just with them being a little bit more older, experienced guys, that was kind of deferred at times for him. So it kind of allowed him just to play. Well this year was a big challenge for him to not just be the great player that we've seen him become over the last five years, but also now become a leader and kind of in charge of the D group back there."

"So with him becoming our assistant captain and putting together the offensive start that he has, he's done a really good job and it's been good to watch," Reirden added. "Obviously I've spent a lot of time with John over the years and it's fun to watch him progress every year and continue to get better."