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Erik Karlsson on Sochi and the playoff run ahead

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

Erik Karlsson returned to the team from Sochi on Wednesday in his first skate since the conclusion of the Olympics on Sunday. He met with the media to talk about his time in Russia and the stretch ahead for the Sens.

Here's what he had to say...

On the attention they got in Sweden:

I think they had a really good turnout from what I've heard. Especially with the time difference only being three hours, it was always airing at good times and I think the people really got excited when we were doing so well. It's nice to see that we get the publicity back home and hopefully we can inspire kids to start playing hockey. The Olympics was definitely one of the things that inspired me starting out and watching all the older guys doing so well back in the day.

On wanting to go back in four years to get a gold:

Yeah I think so, it's something special and it's something that means so much to the country you play for that I want to be a part of it again. Being able to have the chance to play for another gold medal with the team we have it feels like in four years we're going to be just as good as it was this year.

On putting Sweden behind him to play for the Sens:

I think it's exciting, we have 23 more games to go and we're fighting for a playoff spot. Every time you go away, as nice as it is, it's always nice to come home as well and I'm excited to be here and see all the guys and hear about their trips in the sun. I'm looking forward to start playing hockey here again, it feels like the vibe is good in the room and we're looking forward to the last stretch here.

On the key down the stretch:

I think lately we've been playing well and it feels like everybody got the time off and got some rest and I think everyone is excited to start playing again. As I said, we have an exciting game on Thursday against Detroit and then we go to Vancouver to play the outdoor game. We have a lot of things to look forward to and I think the way the schedule is planned for us, it looks really good and we're home a lot and the weather is getting better. That's what you play for, for 82 games, is to get into the playoffs and have a chance. It feels like everybody's on the same page, we're going to get there somehow.

On the upcoming debate over NHLers going back to the Olympics:

It's tough to say, it's four years from now and I don't think it's a question that will be discussed any time soon. I think everybody that went to Sochi was really happy about everything and I think everybody really enjoyed themselves. From the player point of view, I think everybody wants the opportunity to go and then it's just the matter of making it work with the schedule we have here. I definitely would like to be able to have the opportunity to go in four years again.

On playing with Alfredsson for Sweden:

It was great. We were rooming together and pretty much spent every day together. We're good friends and it's always nice to see some guys that you haven't seen in a while and we had a really, really good time together just speaking your own native tongue and drinking some coffee everyday and hanging out. The atmosphere there was really good and everybody was obviously really excited to play for Team Sweden in the Olympics and we got the chance to be a part of something special.

On the experience in Sochi:

I think it was great. I think everybody was a little bit skeptical before we got there and once we got there I think everybody was a little bit surprised on how good everything was and everything was ready. All the facilities were really good, the arena was beautiful and the dressing rooms and our accommodations as well. The houses we lived in were unbelievable and the food was really, really good as well. No one got sick or anything and you could pretty much eat whatever you wanted. It was nice riding a bike around for two weeks in the nice weather... He (Alfie) is a really, really good bike rider, I don't know why. He was a little bit faster than I was. It was fun, I think the group of guys we had really made it enjoyable. We just tried to keep ourselves busy and just hang out and it was nice to see some other events as well. It was just one of those things that not everybody, unfortunately, gets to be a part of.

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