It remains to be seen whether Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie and defenseman John Carlson will be named to Team USA for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey in Toronto, but both approved of the hiring of John Tortorella as the team’s head coach late Monday night.
“Maybe he does have a reputation for yelling or do this or that,” Carlson said. “But at the end of the day he’s had success and he’s been around long enough that he demands that respect and he deserves it for what he’s done.”
Tortorella, a 57-year-old Boston native, is the winningest American-born coach in NHL history with 446 victories, nine more than Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette. Tortorella won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004 and also coached the Rangers and Canucks.
“I don’t know him personally,” said Oshie, who teamed up with Carlson and Caps defenseman Brooks Orpik on Team USA for the 2014 Winter Olympics under Dan Bylsma. “He’s never coached me before, but obviously he’s proven he can win games and I think it’s great.”
The World Cup is scheduled to begin on Sept. 17 and can end no later than Oct. 1, with all games being played in Toronto. Team USA will be grouped with Canada, the Czech Republic and Team Europe and Oshie said it will be up to the players to unite quickly for the tournament.
“I think when you have the right personalities in the locker room it goes a lot quicker,” Oshie said. “And from what I hear Torts gets his guys in shape pretty quick as far as what he expects of them. I don’t think it should be too hard.”
The U.S. won the event in its inaugural year of 1996 in Philadelphia.
Carlson said his No. 1 priority this season is playing well for the Capitals, and if that means a Team USA selection in March, he’ll take it.
“I plan on going out there and playing as hard as I can for this team, the Capitals, and if I play well and make my team better and make myself better it gives me a better chance,” Carlson said.
Oshie said that if he makes the U.S. team it will mean for as shorter summer and more attention to offseason training.
“It is a good time of the year because guys can still enjoy their summers, they just have to be ready to go little quicker,” Oshie said. “I think it’s going to be great for hockey and fun for whoever’s on the team.”
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