Waiting until he’s ready
VANCOUVER — The Ottawa Senators will have to soldier on throughout Western Canada without captain Erik Karlsson.
This time, there will be no speedy recovery for the club’s top defenceman.
While the Senators were hopeful their best player would be able to return to the lineup as early as Saturday night against the Edmonton Oilers, when the club wraps up this three-game road trip, general manager Pierre Dorion told the travelling media at the club’s downtown hotel Wednesday that won’t be the case.
Yes, Karlsson is a fast healer, but he’s going to have take his time trying to come back from the tendon surgery he had on his foot in June and the club is optimistic he won’t be out much longer.
“We’re hopeful that he will play at some point in time next week,” Dorion said.
Dorion said Karlsson, who has been skating at the Bell Sensplex with injured teammates Johnny Oduya and Colin White while the team is on the road, has to be comfortable.
“It’s all about when he feels he’ll be ready to play. It’s all about conditioning and he’s got to get used to a different sensation in his feet, but there’s no setback,” Dorion said. “We were always hopeful he’d be ready (this week) but we felt the best thing for him would be to skate with Shean Donovan on a daily basis.
“We’re very, very hopeful that he’ll be ready next week.”
There is no question the Senators would like Karlsson back now and Injured Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson bumps gloves with teammates during player introductions prior to Ottawa’s home opener last week. Karlsson won’t play until at least next week as he continues to recover from tendon surgery he had in June.
he’d like to play, but it’s a long season and he needs to be ready when he does return. When the Senators left town there was a chance he’d join the team Thursday in Calgary and suit up Saturday in Edmonton but those plans have changed.
“With Erik I know he’s putting in a lot of hard work on the ice and in the gym to come and help this team sooner than later,” Dorion said. “It’s just conditioning. We all know when Erik steps into our lineup he’s not going to play
seven minutes. He’ll play his usual 25-to-30 minutes.
“When you have to play that many minutes you have to be in shape. Even though Erik is special, and in great shape, the more we can get him back into great shape that’s the best it will be for everyone.”
Coming off a 3-2 shootout victory over the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday at Rogers Arena, the Senators have had to call in reinforcements because of injuries
to Ben Harpur (shoulder), Oduya (undisclosed) and Karlsson. Oduya could join the team in Calgary and play Saturday night against the Oilers.
With four points in their first three games, the Senators’ defence corps have done a good job without Karlsson. The club called up prospects Thomas Chabot and Christian Jaros to suit up here. They both did just fine while Dion Phaneuf, Cody Ceci, Mark Borwiecki, Chris Wideman and Fred load.
Chabot and Jaros picked up a little more time Tuesday after Wideman was benched for most of the second and third period for indifferent play.
“I think we’ve been able to get the maximum out of the guys that we want to,” Dorion said. “Even though I tell you I don’t read the newspapers or listen to the radio, I do and over the course of the summer it was a big panic because of who was going to play on our defence. We always felt we had the depth for guys to step up.
“Guys have stepped up. We always felt that one of our two strengths was goaltending and our depth on defence. When you have all those guys then you bring up guys like Harpur, Jaros and Chabot and they go into the lineup and they don’t hurt you at all, there’s not many teams that can say they do that. We’ve always felt we’re dealing with a position of strength at the most difficult position to play in the league.”
Dorion said the club’s record has no bearing on Karlsson’s timetable.
“For us, when he was going to be ready, he was going to be ready. If we had (lost all three) he probably would have just played next week at some point,” Dorion said. “We were hoping, but sometimes players and trainers know that they’re not ready. We’re hoping, hoping, hoping but sometimes you have to be realistic.
“He didn’t get a chance to do much all summer and he’s trying to shorten his summer in a matter of four weeks with guys who did it in 12 weeks. Even though he’s special we can’t put him in a position where he’s not going to help our team.”
Make no mistake, Karlsson champing at the bit to return.
“If we gave Erik his choice he would have played opening night,” said Dorion. Claesson shouldered the is