It looks like the biggest game of John Carlson’s life is going to require some extra work.
With Penguins defenseman Paul Martin sidelined with a hand injury, the Capitals’ 24-year-old defenseman is expected to take his spot on Team USA’s second defense unit alongside Penguins stay-at-home defenseman Brooks Orpik.
Carlson, who was born in Natick, Mass., but grew up in Colonia, N.J., took just 11 shifts and played 9:13 and was a minus-1 in USA’s 5-2 win over Czech Republic on Wednesday.
He scored the Americans’ first goal of the Olympic tournament back on Feb. 12. Justin Faulk will be added as a seventh defenseman for the Americans.
Don’t be surprised if Carlson and Orpik see a steady diet of Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews, who are centering Canada’s top two lines.
Several Capitals teammates said they are rooting for Carlson today, but what about head coach Adam Oates and general manager George McPhee, who were both born in Canada.
Oates, who is from Toronto, said he will be cheering on the red, white and blue.
“I’m rooting for Carly first,” he said.
McPhee, who was born in Guelph, Ontario but is a dual citizen of Canada and the U.S., said he’s remaining neutral – sort of.
“I like to see good games,” McPhee said. “When you’ve got one of your guys in certain games you pull for them. I’ve never really pulled for one team to win a tournament. I just like watching hockey games.”
“We’ve got Johnny Carlson on the U.S., so I hope he does well and I hope they do well.”