With blizzard postponements resulting in an eight-day break between the Washington Capitals’ last game and Wednesday’s against the Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman John Carlson has been able to practice more. He has missed 12 games because of a lower-body injury, and after Coach Barry Trotz said he was “doubtful” to play against Anaheim on Friday, a game that ultimately got postponed, Carlson’s status has been upgraded for Wednesday.
“We’ll just where he is tomorrow,” Trotz said. “Obviously, he’s feeling better and he’s practicing with us, so we’ll just see where he is tomorrow and make a decision.”
Trotz said Monday that if Carlson is feeling 100 percent, then they’d wait until after the all-star break to get him back into the lineup, as it may not be worth it to play Carlson on Wednesday before another lengthy break that could give him more time to heal.
“There’s two ways you can go about it and two ways to think about it, just getting back in and starting to get your time and your feel back and then have four days to recover off the hop,” Carlson said. “Then obviously, if you just compact those four days and turn them into five or six or seven or whatever it is now, is that going to help you? That’s what we talk about.”
If Carlson doesn’t play Wednesday, then Ryan Stanton will play on the third defensive pairing with Taylor Chorney for a third straight game. Stanton, by his own admission, struggled against the Columbus Blue Jackets in his first NHL game this season and his first ever game for the Capitals. He was scored on once and got just 8 minutes and 41 seconds of ice time.
“It definitely wasn’t my best game,” Stanton said. “I thought I started all right, but there’s a couple plays I’d like to have back for sure. … We got the win, so it definitely felt better, those couple mistakes that I had, you can kind of look past them a little easier when the team gets the win.”
Trotz essentially shrugged off Stanton’s spotty play when asked about, mentioning that playing fewer minutes is an adjustment and that he thinks Stanton, who played 54 games with the Vancouver Canucks last season, will be fine. Before Stanton got into the lineup, he had been idle for stretches as the team’s extra defenseman while Aaron Ness played.
“I’m not making excuses, but I’ve only played in a couple games this whole month,” Stanton said. “I was up at the beginning for a week and a bit, then I went down to Hershey for a couple games, then I think I had another week and a half off and we played one game. It’s not an excuse, but I think it was a little rust and a little nerves. I think even if I was down in the American League and I had that much time off, I would be kind of jittery with plays.”