WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Capitals John Carlson spoke to reporters Tuesday, for the first time since returning from the Sochi Games, where the U.S. failed to earn a medal in hockey.
“It’s not the result that I wanted, for me or my team,” Carlson said of being blanked by Finland 5-0 in the bronze medal game, mere hours after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Canada for the chance to play for gold. “But it was definitely a good experience.”
The Americans had a head of steam heading into their semifinals matchup versus Canada, having won all of their preliminary games (7-1 victory over Slovakia, 3-2 shootout victory over Russia, 5-1 victory over Slovenia), and their quarterfinals matchup against the Czech Republic (5-2).
Carlson spoke about the drop-off in their play, from their dominant victory over the Czechs to their game against Canada, which carried over into their bronze medal drubbing the very next day.
“I think we had a penalty shot to go up 1-0, and then another one to tie it up,” he said. “They had a good goaltender – they play a pretty suffocating game. But besides that, we had chances to score early on, and I thought we came out hard.”
“It’s tough,” he said. “You play at 9 o’clock the night before against your biggest rival – that’s your goal is to beat them, and obviously get a chance to play for a gold medal – and I thought we came out good the next day, for playing 4 o’clock in the afternoon. It’s a quick turnaround. I think they played a frustrating game once we got a little frustrated, and that’s when it got away from us.”
Carlson expressed sympathy for Caps teammate Nicklas Backstrom, who was barred from playing in the gold medal game for Sweden after being flagged for doping.
To be clear, Backstrom’s test results showed an elevated level of pseudoephedrine – found in his allergy medication — according to the Washington Post, which is prohibited by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), but not the National Hockey League.
From The Post:
“There certainly is no doping in this instance. He is an innocent victim, and we support him strongly,” said Mark Aubry, chief medical officer for the International Ice Hockey Federation. “Doping is certainly not allowed, but this is not a case of doping.”
Sweden would go on to lose that game, 3-0.
“I was devastated,” Carlson said of hearing the news. “He’s a very good friend of mine, and it was certainly a bad situation. I feel terrible for him. It’s what you dream about, is playing in that game. I know what it’s like to come up short, so I can only imagine the feeling for him is probably ten times worse than the feeling for us losing in the semifinals.”