John Carlson, the 27th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, made his professional debut on Saturday night at Giant Center, taking a regular shift in the Bears’ opening win against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins in the Eastern Conference Division Finals, the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
The 6’3” 210 pound native of Natick, Massachusetts, who recently joined the Bears after ending his junior career under the tutelage of Capitals’ legend, Dale Hunter, with the London Knights of the OHL, took a regular shift in his debut, skating alongside his defensive partner, veteran, Dean Arsene.
Assessing his own performance, Carlson, while giving himself high marks, admitted that it was a collective effort among all of the Hershey rearguards that made his first appearance a successful one.
“It was good; I really enjoyed it,” said the 19-year-old. “It was a tough game, back and forth a little bit, but I thought everyone else played really well. All of the defensemen were being really talkative, and that always helps when you are a young guy coming in.”
Carlson, who looked like a seasoned veteran in the outing, slightly changed his routine in anticipation of the event, but kept the same simple mindset that paved the way to the beginning of his professional career.
“Obviously, it’s more important, so you have to prepare yourself a little differently, but you have to look at it as more or less like any other game. You have to try to stick to your game, because if you start trying to be someone else, usually you get caught out of position.”