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John Carlson gets more travel miles


(By Shaun Best - Reuters)


This is what John Carlson's travel itinerary has looked like over the past two weeks.

Jan. 5: Score game-winning overtime goal for U.S. in junior world championships, become international hero. Earn the everlasting hatred of Canadians.

Jan. 6: Fly the well-traveled route from Saskatoon to Winnipeg to meet up with the Hershey Bears for a glamorous Manitoba meeting with the Moose. Play two games in two nights, win both by a single goal.

Jan. 9: Fly back to Hershey.

Jan. 10: Celebrate 20th birthday.

Jan. 12: Bus to Norfolk for a meeting with the Admirals. Lose by a goal

Jan. 13: Bus back to Hershey.

Jan. 14: Call-up to the Caps. Car service to D.C. play two games, against Toronto and Philadelphia, in the sold-out Verizon Center.

Jan. 18: Practice in Ballston with the Caps, get sent back to Hershey, fly to Portland for the AHL skills competition. Go a combined 0-for-6 in the "Rapid Fire" and "Breakaway Relay" events.

Jan. 19: AHL All-Star game in Maine. Lose 10-9 in a shootout. This is Carlson's eighth competitive event in 15 days, competing for four different teams in two provinces, three states and the District. Six of the seven actual games were decided by a single goal.

Jan. 20: Overnight chartered bus trip back to Hershey with fellow all-star participants.

So the bus arrived at 6:30 a.m. That was Wednesday. Wednesday was a scheduled off-day. It seems like Carlson maybe could use one of them. And then around 1, his phone rang. He was being recalled to the Caps. The car service would be there in about an hour, to take him west toward Pittsburgh, where the defenseman would meet up with the big-league club and likely get tossed into one of the most intense regular-season games of the season.

"Whatever it takes as a hockey player," Carlson said after Thursday's morning skate. "That's your job. Wherever it takes you, I go."

Of course, his job now involves a bit more notoriety, after he led the U.S. to junior gold. He was booed every time he touched the puck in Manitoba; "the fans there were pretty funny and pretty hostile, but it makes it all worth it," he said. There's now a Facebook group dedicated to hating John Carlson; "I can believe it," he said. His gold medal is back home in Massachusetts; "not in the open for everyone to see," he said, declining to identify its precise location.

Bruce Boudreau said Carlson was recalled because the Caps "[have] got a couple guys that got a little ouchies." And Carlson said the experience of practicing against Alex Ovechkin would prepare him for Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the high-powered Penguins, and that Ovi had already scared the jitters out of him.

"I think I was shellshocked by him when I first jumped on the ice," Carlson said. "Obviously those guys are top-caliber too, [but] I think Ovi shook everything out of me. Coming down on you, it's pretty nerve-racking at first, but you gain more confidence practicing against a guy like that."

As for the somewhat absurd travel schedule he's been keeping, his family members have reacted much like the media.

"They've been saying the same thing," he said. "Oh, when are you gonna stop?."

But Carlson said he hasn't really considered this, and hasn't worried about the challenging of working with four sets of teammates within two weeks.

"It's unbelievable being here, and you're so excited you don't even think about those things," he said. "You just take it and try not to think about that too much, just worry about the game....It's good. I like it. it's definitely worth it."

By Dan Steinberg  |  January 21, 2010; 2:27 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Comments

A real American Hero.

Posted by: Section117 | January 21, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Stein, I know the Post is under siege from the New Media Caps Brigade, but labeling Carlson as an International Hero is like letting the terrorists win, or something.

Posted by: LouLewis | January 21, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Well, that was supposed to be sort of a jest. Jape. Whatever.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | January 21, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Stein:

IT'S ONLY HOCKEY!

I keed. Love your work babe!

Posted by: Leeguru | January 21, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Great article Dan. Don't let the idiot brigade annoy you.

Followed John for a year as a Knight. Was at his first press conference in London (with Dale of course) to announce him. From the first moment you could tell by the way he carried himself, even as an 18 year old, he had PRO written all over him.

He's the real deal. And this is coming from a not insubstantially annoyed Canuck. I kept screaming at the tv the whole night...don't let him shoot...in OT, they let him shoot.

Hopefully he scores another OT winner tonight.

GMGM gets nowhere near enough credit (and far too much blame for not doing anything imo) at last year's deadline for NOT dealing Carlson, Varly, and Alzner (???!!!) for Pronger. Way too many Caps fans are impatient. The Caps are building something to last a long long time here.

Just wish he could wear 11 with the big club too. Surely Garts wouldn't mind...

Posted by: DaleDUI | January 21, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

You guys can't win no matter what you write.

Crosby was Canadian Junior team captain only a few years back, I believe. Someone will surely berate/correct me if I'm wrong. I wonder if he'll have anything to say to Carlson tonight.

Posted by: LouLewis | January 21, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

All he needs to do is talk to Snoop Dogg moustache for that.

Posted by: Section117 | January 21, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

LouLewis: other way around. Carlson kinda had something to say to Cindy when he clean his clock on that check. And Cindy did what he always does, which is whine like the overrated wuss he is.

Posted by: poguesmahone | January 22, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

If John carlson is allowed time to progress his game he mold his game into to something that resembles mike green, exept with more defense( no that was not a cheap shot mereley a simple observation, it is what kept him of the Canadian nation team) if carlson does that he would become a great defender. The thing that would seperate him though would be his size which is getting more common but is still rare in modern hockey.

Posted by: Dlewis10 | January 25, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

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