It's no secret that Erik Karlsson is a key cog in the proverbial Sens machine. Much like everybody has come to camp in the best shape of their career and everyone is excited to take on the season ahead, as Karlsson heads into the next stratosphere of his career so will the Sens. This we know.
As a consequence, many eyes will be on the man wearing 65 this season as he continues his return from the gruesome achilles injury that stole the majority of Karlsson's 2013 season from him and hockey fans. His health was a big part of what was up for discussion today when Erik met with the media at Canadian Tire Centre.
Here's what he had to say...
On his health:
I should be fine when training camp starts... today. I have no real issues with it. I had a good summer and I think it's pretty much healed as good as it could have. It's obviously going to take some time to get it back to what it used to be, but I don't think it should affect my game in any way.
On if there's discomfort:
I think I'm going to have to feel that one out. We hit the ice pretty hard here and I'm sure there's going to be a lot of games that'll be time to tell. Right now it feels great, I've been skating a lot and I've had no issues with it and no pain. There's been some discomfort but I'm pretty used to that right now.
On if he'll return to form:
I hope so. I'll try. I think I will. I feel better now than I did this point in the year last time. My body feels great, I had a good summer working out and only time will tell. As of right now I don't see any major issues with anything going on with my leg.
On if he should have returned last year:
I knew I wasn't 100 per cent and I knew I wasn't playing close to my best hockey but I still think that it's going to help me going into this season. I've done the hard part and I feel comfortable in most of the situations. I trust that the injury won't re-open and I won't get hurt. For me that's a big thing, I think, going forward here and playing my first game in a while. It's going to feel as it always does in the beginning of the season — probably terrible. I think it was a good thing that I played last year for sure.
On the Alfie departure:
It was raining that day I think. I stayed off social media obviously. We're good friends and we talk a lot and I wish him all the best. I hope that he has a really good season. He's at the end of his career and whatever he has to do to keep playing and be happy, that's what he has to do... It's going to be a big hole to fill and on a personal level it's going to be tough. We spent a lot of time here in Ottawa and in Sweden together so it's going to be a big change. At the same time, it's an opportunity to grow and, you know, maybe take some of that advice you got from him and give it to someone else.
On if it's strange without him:
Yeah, it's strange. He's been here as long as I've been here and even longer than that so obviously it's a big difference. You're used to having him around and it'll probably take a day or two to get over it.
On if he wants the captaincy resolved:
I don't think it's an issue. Right now no one has it, but I think with the group we have everybody is going to take a bigger responsibility. I don't think it's a responsibility that's just going to land on one guy. As a group we're just going to help share that load.
On the expectations for this team:
It's tough to speculate what would have happened and what wouldn't. We played great last year without me and Spezza and Cowen for a long time and we made the playoffs. I think we had a good playoffs. We faced Pittsburgh in the second round and they were a better team than we were — maybe we were a little bit tired — but I think it's going to help us this year for sure. We pretty much almost have the same team this year as last year and the guys we brought in have some experience and, you know, for us I think last year is pretty much history and we're just going to have to move on. I think this year will be, hopefully, even better.
Here's Erik's full availability courtesy of Sens TV:
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