Winter Games Athletes
Carlson was invited to Team USA’s orientation camp over the summer, but it seemed unlikely he had a shot at actually making the Olympic team. Yet after a strong showing this season and a philosophical decision by Team USA to go with young, athletic defensemen, Carlson was among the final 25 selected to make the trip to Sochi. The 24-year-old is one of five defensemen on the squad age 25 or younger. His only other experience playing on the international stage came at the 2010 world junior championships, and he came up huge, scoring in overtime against Canada in the championship game to give the Americans gold. He finished the seven-game tournament with four goals and three assists and was named to the world junior championship All-Star team. Carlson, who grew up in New Jersey after being born in Massachusetts, has had to take on an increased workload for Washington with injuries to veteran Mike Green, and the five-year veteran has not wavered. The first Capitals player ever selected to play for Team USA, Carlson leads the team in time on ice and blocked shots. A proficient skater and shutdown defender, he is a key part of Washington’s penalty-kill unit, ranking second in the league in short-handed time on ice.