John Carlson’s injury comeback last season could jump start him in 2023-24

John Carlson, Washington Capitals (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
John Carlson, Washington Capitals (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /

John Carlson was ready to have one of, if not, his best season ever with the Washington Capitals. That is, until Dec. 23, 2022 in a game against the Winnipeg Jets.

Everyone remembers this game as an incredible and historic night as Alex Ovechkin scored career goals 801 and 802. It was not a good night for John Carlson though.

Moments before the empty net goal there was a scare and it wasn’t nerves that Ovechkin wasn’t going to do it. Carlson took a shot to the side of the head.

The shot came from former Capitals defenseman and even his ex pairing partner Brenden Dillon. The fact that Carlson wasn’t in a good area when Dillon ripped the shot made it worse. It was a slapshot that was aimed for the net. Instead it went wide of the net and hit Carlson.

Carlson fell to the ground and there was blood everywhere. Carlson recalled the moment in March as he was getting closer to his return to the ice:

"“It was kind of survival-ish. When you see blood, you’re just like, ‘What do I have to do to get out of here?’ kind of thing, and that’s what I was feeling like. Even in the moment, you don’t think about the pain as much, you know, just what you think is the best thing to do.”"

That game against the Winnipeg Jets was his 30th game that season. He had 21 points with eight goals and 13 assists. He probably wouldn’t have won the Norris but he would’ve at least had a chance to reach 20-25 goals had that injury not happened.

Carlson did return to action on March 23 against the Chicago Blackhawks. He did have a goal and an assist that night in a rare late season win. He wouldn’t score anymore goals but he would at least record eight more assists after that game.

That brought his total to nine goals and 20 assists for 29 points in 40 games played.

Hot. School is back and the Capitals look to help. light

Now Carlson has a chance to play a full season and see what he can do. He is already on the ice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex for informal skates as the players gear up for training camp on September 20.