Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson spoke out on Friday about the gruesome left Achilles injury he suffered against the Pittsburgh Penguins last week. He essentially implied that Penguins forward Matt Cooke knew what he was doing when he jammed his skate into him—then backtracked slightly.
Canada's TSN broke the news of Karlsson's comments. The defenseman was clearly upset at the development that cut off his already lockout-shortened year prematurely, but did express some appreciation that Cooke reached out through text messaging:
He (Cooke) knows exactly what he is doing out there...That is why I am sitting here with leg in cast.
He has been after me before...At least he reached out, which I didn't expect. We're going to leave it at that.
Cooke did not face disciplinary action in this instance, and as Ian Mendes of Sportsnet tweeted, Karlsson refuses to believe that Cooke ultimately did it on purpose.
Senators team doctor Dom Chow performed surgery on Karlsson's laceration on Thursday, which will keep him sidelined for at least six months, according to Ken Warren of the Ottawa Citizen.
As TSN indicates, Cooke has had a history of being suspended for infringing upon the rules as far as hits are concerned. Most notably, he elbowed New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh in the head, which forced him to sit out the final 10 games of the regular season in 2011.
Prior to his injury on Feb. 13, the 22-year-old Karlsson was leading all defensemen in the NHL with six goals this season. Warren points out that many considered the prodigious Karlsson to be playing the best hockey of anyone in the entire league during the first four weeks of action.
It was a strong start for the budding star, who won the James Norris Memorial Trophy during the 2011-12 season as the NHL's best defenseman.
Karlsson was the No. 15 overall pick in the 2008 draft by the Senators, and has shown an outstanding ability to produce on the offensive end in his young, promising career.
He already had 10 points in just 14 games this year, and in his outstanding previous campaign, scored 19 goals and had 59 assists in 81 games.
The Senators have won their past three contests, but still rank just 26th in goals scored, which shows just how valuable Karlsson was. Ottawa also sports a league-low goals against average, giving up just 1.8 goals per game to date.