OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson skated with his teammates Saturday for the first time since having surgery to repair torn tendons in his left foot on June 14.
Karlsson, a two-time Norris Trophy winner as the NHL's best defenseman, wore a light blue non-contact jersey and did not take part in all the drills during the morning skate at Canadian Tire Centre before a preseason game against the Montreal Canadiens.
"It's a positive thing, but we don't want to get too excited. It's a second step," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "The first step was to let the therapists tell us when it was adequate to put him on the ice, because you need to get the flexibility and the strength off the ice before we could put [him] on the ice. Yesterday they apparently put the skates on to see how it felt and [went] very lightly on the ice, and they felt he was able this morning [to] get dressed and be with the boys.
"Basically, this is the second step, but there's quite a few steps before we get to him playing. We don't want him to get too excited."
Boucher said the plan is for Karlsson to take the next two days off and see how his ankle responds. There's no timetable for his return. The Senators open the regular season against the Washington Capitals on Oct. 5.
"He wasn't as loud as he normally is today," defenseman Cody Ceci said, "probably because he wasn't in on all the drills, but it was good to see him out there."
Karlsson did not speak to the media. He said on Sept. 11 he would not return until he was sure the effects of the surgery would not linger.
Video: OTT@DET: Karlsson nets PPG from below the goal line
"I'm going to make sure this is something that is not going to affect me moving forward in my career," Karlsson said then. "Whenever I'm 100 percent I'm going to come back and play, whether that is in October or November. For me, it's not going to make a difference. When I do decide to come back, it's going to be 100 percent and it's not going to be an injury I'm going to have to battle with for the next two or three years."
After Karlsson had the surgery in Charlotte, North Carolina, general manager Pierre Dorion said the recovery period would be four months. The tears, which occurred during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, were discovered during a postseason MRI. Karlsson also had two hairline fractures in his left foot after blocking a shot late in the regular season.
He led the Senators in playoff scoring with 18 points (two goals, 16 assists) in 19 games.