Capitals defenseman John Carlson has been named to the NHL All-Star game for the first time during his 10-year career.
Tied for third in points among defensemen with 38, Carlson will represent the Capitals in San Jose on Jan. 26. He will be joined there by teammate Braden Holtby.
Earlier in the day, Alex Ovechkin informed the NHL he would not participate despite being voted the Metropolitan Division team captain and leading the league with 29 goals.
“It’d be cool, but not something that you play for,” Carlson said Wednesday morning before the announcement and Washington’s flight to St. Louis for the start of a three-game road trip.
Carlson ranks eighth among defensemen in time on ice per game (25:25). He set career highs in goals (15), assists (53) and points (68) last season, but was not chosen for the All-Star game. His teammates and coaches weren’t happy with that outcome.
Only six times has a Capitals defenseman produced more points than Carlson did last season. This year he has six goals and 32 assists in 38 games and is on pace to break his own points mark.
Carlson has been on the ice for 48 five-on-five goals, which leads the Caps and is tied for second among NHL defensemen.
“Whatever year it is, if I do or don’t get invited to [the All-Star game], it’s not something I lose sleep over,” Carlson said. “There’s always a plan that they have to put on a good show…If I do get invited I’ll be happy, if I don’t I’ll use the extra rest.”
He won’t get that rest this time. Ovechkin will instead. He leads the league in goals (29), but said at age 33 he needs the rest after playing two full months of extra hockey en route to winning a Stanley Cup last June.
Holtby has helped fuel Washington’s 17-5-0 streak since Nov. 13. He has a .925 save percentage since Nov. 6 – a span of 17 appearances. That ranks third in the NHL during that stretch. His 2.40 goals-against average is fourth.
This makes four All-Star games in a row for Holtby. Only four other active NHL goalies have played in that many and he is tied with Hall of Famer Mike Gartner for fourth-most All-Star games by a Caps player. Ovechkin (10), Peter Bondra (7) and Rod Langway (7) are the only Washington players with more appearances than Holtby.
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