OTTAWA, Ont. – Erik Karlsson is at the All-Star Game to show off his hockey skills, but out-of-town fans are also getting a taste of the 21-year-old's quick wit.
Defense - OTT
GOALS: 7 | ASST: 40 | PTS: 47
SOG: 168 | +/-: 5
SOG: 168 | +/-: 5
The Swede's jovial nature has made him a favorite with both Ottawa media and fans alike. Combine the personality with the skills of an elite offensive defenseman, and you have a winning formula.
"He's as good as he wants to be," Spezza said. "He's already so talented offensively, he's got all the tools, and he's really coming along defensively. There aren't too many guys who can skate the way he can and think the game at the same speed that he can skate, so he has that advantage."
"This is where he shines and I think it's going to be a lot of fun to watch him during the (All-Star) game," Milan Michalek said. "He's a great guy, he always makes jokes. He's really funny to be around. He's not cocky. In the right way, maybe, on the ice, but as a person, he's a great guy to be around and he's a good friend of mine."
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"I think this event is about getting to know the players, and seeing how we are as normal people, because in the end, that's what we are," he said. "We're not that much more special than anyone else. I think it's good for people to ask whatever questions they want and see that there are a lot of similarities between us and the rest of the world."
Karlsson played coy about his own reputation for being humorous, but enjoys the chance to demonstrate how he is off the ice.
"I'm not that funny. Maybe you think I'm funny; I don't know," he said. "I know I laugh at my own jokes sometimes. I think it's good – you're a totally different person off the ice than you are (on the ice), even though you might play tough on the ice and kind of be a bad guy, you can still be a good guy (off the ice) and still be the best guy in the world, then you can go on the ice. It's good for the people to realize that that off the ice that everything is all good, and we're just normal people."
However, in the next breath, Karlsson's humor shone through as he answered a question about his wardrobe choices.
"I try to be as good-looking as I can, then I think it's up to you guys to decide if I am or if I'm not," he said. "I mean, I would say that I am. I'm not a better dresser than (Henrik) Lundqvist. He's the top of the hill. I see what he wears in the summers and then I go and buy it after him."
"That's just Erik," teammate Colin Greening said. "I would expect nothing less."