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Short Shifts

Erik Karlsson of Senators shares photo as youth goalie

Ottawa captain influenced by father to switch to defenseman, Craig Anderson thankful

by Chris Stevenson / Correspondent

OTTAWA -- Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson posted a photo of himself to his Instagram on Friday in a classic hockey-card pose.

It shows Karlsson, about 6 years old at the time, in goalie equipment.

"My first professional photo ever as a 'hockey player' hahahaha" is the accompanying caption.

When asked if he knew Karlsson was a goalie at one point, Senators goaltender Craig Anderson said he did and was glad his teammate switched to defense.

"I think he's a better defenseman than he was a goalie, I hope, to keep my job safe," Anderson said. "He's a terrific athlete and he does a lot of things really, really well. It's not a surprise that he would have been a good goalie growing up."

Karlsson said he gave up playing goalie shortly after that photo was taken.

"I thought it was cool to have all the gear on," he said. "Everybody could be a goaltender and we switched around. The first team photo I was ever in, I was a goaltender. I'm happy that I didn't go that route, but I'm also happy that I got the chance to try it out. It's a lot of fun when you're a young kid and people don't shoot that hard."

The switch to defense has worked out OK for Karlsson. This season, he was third in scoring among NHL defensemen with 71 points (17 goals, 54 assists) and is a finalist for the Norris Trophy, which he's won twice (2012, 2015). He has seven points (one goal, six assists) in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games, most among defensemen this postseason.

Karlsson said his father, Jonas, helped change his mind about being a goaltender. Jonas Karlsson was a defenseman, and Karlsson said he wanted his son to follow in his footsteps.

Jonas took Erik onto the ice and fired a slap shot at him.

"That's one of the reasons why I'm not still in net and probably never will be," Erik said.

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