Ottawa Senators take another hit with the loss of Erik Karlsson
In case you haven't read any of the headlines today, here it is in a nutshell. Erik Karlsson suffered a lacerated Achilles Tendon last night, as a result of the hit by Matt Cooke. Karlsson's reaction after the hit was telling. He knew he was hurt and he knew it was serious, even though there was no blood pouring out of his skate or any other visible sign.
Now a plethora of sites are claiming that Matt Cooke injured Karlsson intentionally. Cooke definitely has a history, however, he and his teammates state that it was an accident, plain and simple. It all depends on your perception.
I've watched that video a ton of times, and honestly, if Matt did so on purpose, he has eyes in the side of his head, and holes to see through his helmet. Could he have been smart enough to realize his skate was right on the heel of Karlsson? Certainly, he could have, but that video above is in slow motion, and the actual event happened much quicker than that. If Cooke did injure Karlsson on purpose, he did so without any real forethought, in my opinion. It seems the NHL agrees, as they have said there will be no further action.
The sad part of this injury is that Karlsson has now had surgery, to repair a 70% tear in his Achilles Tendon. His recovery time is 3-4 months, effectively ending his season. He has already won the Norris Trophy and one has to think he was a forerunner for it again this year. He had managed 6 goals so far in the year, and that is likely where his statistics will end for the 2013 season.
Darren Dutchysen of TSN said it perfectly last night. If he were asked who the top five players in the NHL were right now, he said that Erik Karlsson would definitely have been in his top five. This blow, not only to Karlsson, his health and the future of his career in the NHL, decimates an already damaged Ottawa Senators team.
So far this year, the Sens have lost Jason Spezza for the foreseeable future, as he has had back surgery and Peter Regin is out with a chest injury. Sergei Gonchar has just returned to the lineup, after first a chest injury, then the flu. Rumors are afloat that he is about to be traded.
The Sens were off to a promising start this season, and they still may have what it takes to get it together and find a mesh that works. Someone will have to pick up the slack, for sure. Karlsson was playing 30 minutes per game.
What's your opinion? Did Matt Cooke injure Karlsson on purpose? What do the Sens need to do to win games? Trades? Farm team players? What can give them what they need to win?