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Erik Karlsson of Senators recovering from foot surgery

Ottawa defenseman, up for Norris Trophy at NHL Awards, hopes to be out of cast in August

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

LAS VEGAS -- Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson is a one-of-a-kind talent in the NHL, nominated for the Norris Trophy for a third time as the League's top defenseman.

Karlsson, 27, was unique in another way on Tuesday. He was the only 2017 NHL Awards nominee in the interview room at the Encore Resort wearing one shoe.

Karlsson sat on a chair, his casted left foot and leg resting on the dais, his right foot in a lonely, blue loafer.

 

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His crutches rested against the dais to his right, his key to mobility after surgery six days prior repaired two torn tendons in his left foot.

"I wasn't able to put any weight on it when I was playing golf after the [Senators' run in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs] was over," Karlsson said, smiling about at least one thing in the days before his surgery. "But I could hit it out there, and I was chipping and putting. Shot 82. Probably the best I ever played."

Karlsson played during the playoffs with two hairline fractures. He expects the recovery time from his surgery will be four months, but said Tuesday he hopes to be out of the cast and walking by August.

"We'll take it day by day and week by week," Karlsson said.

He expects no issues after his recovery, especially with his exceptional skating.

"This is going to be completely different from my Achilles injury (from Feb. 13, 2013)," Karlsson said. "I've got through this before, having a leg injury, so hopefully that will give me some perspective and help me in the recovery process a bit, keeping the mindset as good as possible."

Video: OTT@NYR, Gm6: Karlsson buries Ryan's slick dish

Karlsson was a fast healer from his Achilles injury. At the time, it was suggested he was out for the rest of the season but returned to play the final three games.

"We're far away from the season right now, so I'm not concerned about being able to skate again," Karlsson said. "Whenever that happens to be, I'm going to make sure I'm 100 percent and ready to play up to the standard I want to."

Karlsson and the Senators have one serious issue straight ahead. His defense partner, Marc Methot, has been left unprotected for the NHL Expansion Draft that will stock the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN).

"It's obviously not an ideal situation but something we knew was going to happen with the expansion draft coming up," Karlsson said. "You were going to lose someone you don't want to. Being a close friend to [Methot], it's not something we would like to see happen. I enjoy playing with him. We're good friends on and off the ice and I know that he wants to be there and that Ottawa wants to keep him."

Karlsson hinted that the sting of coming within one win and one goal of reaching the Stanley Cup Final has abated some. The Senators lost 3-2 in double overtime to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

"It's obviously very disappointing that we were that close to going to the Cup Final," Karlsson said. "I think overall we had a really good season, a really good playoff run and we should be proud of the things we did with the team we have. It's going to motivate us even more coming into next year and knowing a little bit more of what it's going to take for us to get where we want to go. Hopefully when we get into that position next year, we'll have that extra experience and more individual that will see things as little bit differently maybe, and learning from that.

"That sting is not something we wanted, but it's still going to help us as a team and as individuals as well. The more you get put in those situations, the better you get at handling them and performing when you need it the most."

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