John Carlson is not happy.
Late in Sunday's game against the Dallas Stars, the Capitals had pulled the goalie for an extra attacker, trailing by one. The puck came out of Washington's offensive zone and went the length of the ice just past the empty net. Carlson was in a foot race for the puck with Sars forward Jamie Benn after the puck. As they neared the goal line, Benn delivered a quick cross-check to Carlson's legs, sending him crashing into the boards.
"It doesn’t feel good," Carlson said of the hit on Tuesday.
Carlson did not skate in Monday's optional skate, but did participate in the morning skate on Tuesday. He is expected to play in Tuesday's game against the St. Louis Blues, but did note he was glad to escape serious injury.
“It was pretty painful," Carlson said. "First you kind of always worry about your head and I was fine so that was kind of a relief."
Benn was not penalized for the play nor was he issued any supplemental discipline by the league.
Though he managed to avoid serious injury, Carlson still voiced his displeasure over the hit.
“I think it was dangerous play and also needless at that point in the game," he said. "Completely, very very dangerous. It could be a lot worse."
In 2013, the NHL adopted a hybrid icing rule which allowed icing to be called before a player touches the puck. The rule was changed to prevent situations exactly like this Sunday where two players get locked into a foot race putting them at risk for crashing into the boards and sustaining a serious injury.
Sunday's play was not icing, but Carlson still drew a comparison between the league's motivation for hybrid icing and Benn's hit.
"[The NHL has] made rules, obviously, when it pertains to that particular play, there’s a reason that they make that rule," Carlson said. "It’s very dangerous when the puck goes down like that, it’s how fast you can skate. That’s how fast you’re gonna hit the boards if something like that happens.”