Carson anxious for the season to start
CALGARY, AB -- Over the last few months, as he toiled away in the gym, blueliner Brett Carson could only think of one thing: the 2012-13 season.
"I've been training with Rich Hesketh and some of the other guys that are in the city like Cory Sarich," Carson said. "I've been training really hard - I want to make sure I'm ready for next season. It's the only thing on my mind."
Carson's 2011-12 campaign was derailed by a back injury he suffered before the season even began. He spent October and November recovering and then headed to Abbotsford to shake the rust off his game before suiting up for the Flames.
He played for four games with the Heat in December, scoring one goal and earning a plus-two rating, before the Flames called him up. He played two games with Calgary before his back began to bother him again.
Rather than risk further injury, the Flames opted to have him sit for the rest of the month and make sure he had adequate time to let the malady settle down.
He returned the ice on Jan. 6, 2012 with the Heat and spent the remainder of the 2011-12 season in Abbotsford. He ended up playing 34 regular season games in the AHL, notching two goals and eight points in that span. Carson also played three playoff games for the Heat, firing five shots on net and picking up a plus-one rating.
However, he was still dealing with minor injury issues throughout his tenure in Abbotsford and hasn't felt fully healthy until this summer.
"It was just one of those things that I knew probably wasn't going to go away 100 per cent until I got some time off in the summer and got in some extra strength training work on it."
Given how long the injury lingered for, Carson was wary about his training regimen but working with Hesketh and focusing on strengthening the injured area renewed his confidence in his physical abilities.
"I was a little bit worried, doing a few of the exercises that bugged me last year but it's been really good. I haven't been limited at all in my training.
"I've been doing some extra stuff with my back and my core too, to make sure I'm ready to go when the season starts."
Carson will be facing some stiff competition in training camp as the Flames will have a crowd of bodies competing for spots on the blueline. That has served as motivation for the defenceman this summer as he wants to show the Flames coaching staff he has what it takes to be a full-time NHLer.
"It's how I've had to play my whole career," he said. "I know there's a lot of guys on the blueline who are good players and belong in the NHL. I just have to come in and prove myself, show them that last year was just a bump in the road, not a long-term thing.
"I want to show them they didn't make a mistake in signing me and that I'm a capable NHL defenceman."
The Flames acquired Carson off waivers from the Carolina Hurricanes in February 2011. They signed the rearguard to a two-year deal in June of 2011.