Senators' Karlsson feels good, excited to start season

Tuesday, 08.20.2013 / 10:36 AM NHL.com

Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, whose 2012-13 season was limited to 17 games due to an Achilles tendon injury, told the team's website Monday he feels 100 percent healthy heading toward training camp.

"I feel pretty good," he said. "I was a little bit concerned in the beginning of the summer, but all that is gone right now. I can do most of the stuff that I did last summer and I've been working out normally and putting some extra focus on getting the foot back to shape. As of right now I have no concerns that once training camp starts, there will be no problems at all."

Karlsson needed surgery in February to repair a 70 percent tear of the Achilles in his left leg. It was expected then he would miss the rest of the season, but instead he was able to come back in 10 weeks, in time to play in the Senators' final three regular-season games, and was on the ice for their 10 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He had a goal and seven assists when the Senators defeated the Montreal Canadiens in five games in the first round, but lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in five games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

He said his summer focus wasn't continuing to rehabilitate his foot, but just work to get it back to where it was before the injury.

"I haven't been doing rehab so to speak," he said. "I think I've been doing some extra focus on getting the touch back in the foot and getting the connection back there. It's been paying off, I think. I've been trying to act as normal as possible and just doing the regular stuff and it gets better every day. … I've spent some time on the ice. I don't think I needed to skate as much as I did, but it's feeling good and right now I skate almost as good as I used to. It's early in the season now so it's tough to say, but I will have no issues on the ice."

When he does get back on the ice full-time in Ottawa, the team will look a lot different than when he left. Gone is longtime captain Daniel Alfredsson, who signed as a free agent with the Detroit Red Wings. Among those brought in were forwards Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur, and defenseman Joe Corvo.

Karlsson said the departure of Alfredsson, a fellow Swede, will be a tough one for him personally and professionally.

"On a personal level it's going to be tough," Karlsson said. "I'm going to miss him a lot. We developed a close friendship and spent a lot of time together during the season and after the season. For me it's going to be a bit of a change, but at the same time, I knew this was going to happen at some point."

Karlsson said he's excited to the new faces in action and is looking forward to the start of the season.

"Obviously it has been a different kind offseason for us," Karlsson said. "We lost a few guys -- obviously we lost [Alfredsson], which is never any fun -- but we also gained Bobby Ryan. He's a great player and he's probably going to help us become a better team. Same thing with MacArthur and Corvo. This team should be a better team than we were last year. It makes you feel even more excited about starting."

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