John Carlson got to the bench with 9:59 remaining in the third period during Wednesday's exhibition game and did play again. Carlson was tangled up with a Carolina Hurricanes player behind the net and fell. He skated off to the bench with no sign of any issue.
Following the game, head coach Todd Reirden downplayed Carlson's absence as largely a precaution, but said Carlson would be looked at later Wednesday.
"He just got tangled up there and kind of fell awkwardly so obviously in a situation like this it's best to just have him leave for the remainder of the game," Reirden said. "We'll see how he's doing later tonight and tomorrow and move forward from there. I'll have a little bit more of an update for you then."
Just to note, per the NHL's protocols for the 2020 postseason, if Carlson is not able to practice on Thursday, the only update Reirden technically has to give us is that Carlson is unfit to play, but he is not required to say anything beyond that. So the best update we could possibly get on Thursday would be if Carlson is practicing.
Of all the players on the Caps' roster, there are three who are currently irreplaceable. That would be Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby due to the absence of Ilya Samsonov and Carlson. Considering the Caps have struggled to find a right defenseman just for the second pair, losing their top pair right defenseman would be a disaster. Then again, that's also a reason why the team should be cautious with him.
The good news is that we don't know if there is any issue at all. He could be completely healthy and perhaps it was only a precaution. Plus, the Caps' have a few days before their first round robin game on Aug. 3.
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