As he spoke to reporters on Friday, Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Erik Karlsson seemed conflicted exactly how much Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke was to blame for his season-ending injury.
Karlsson, 22, needed surgery to after Cooke’s skate sliced his Achilles tendon and Ottawa Senators GM Bryan Murray doesn’t expect him to return in 2013.
“He knows exactly what he’s doing out there,” Karlsson said, according to Sportsnet’s Ian Mendes. “And that’s why I’m sitting here in a cast.”
And yet, Karlsson pulled back from saying that Cooke’s actions were entirely intentional, “I don’t think he did it on purpose … He meant to hit me hard and knock me out.”
Karlsson added: “I don’t think his intention was to cut me with his skate. I refuse to believe that anyone would do that.”
Senators owner Eugene Melnyk was “outraged” over the incident and while Cooke wasn’t punished by the NHL, Melnyk wants him booted from the league.
For his part, Cooke called it “a freak, unfortunate accident” and reached out to Karlsson via a text message.
Karlsson didn’t reply. “We have nothing to say to each other.”
The Senators defenseman added that this isn’t the first time Cooke has gone after him, according to the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch.
“At least he reached out which I didn’t expect,” Karlsson added. “We’re going to leave it at that.”
Video: Karlsson needs help off ice after collision with Cooke
Don Cherry: Penguins’ Cooke didn’t try to injure Senators’ Karlsson
Cooke on Karlsson hit: ‘I didn’t even know what happened’
Thursday’s game between the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers wasn’t even nine minutes old by the time Dale Weise had recorded the Gordie Howe hat trick.
Already with the opening goal and an assist on Radko Gudas‘ goal, giving Philly a 3-0 lead, Weise dropped the gloves with Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic for a spirited fight off a faceoff.
Not many, if any, positives for the Islanders after a disastrous start. Needing a win to close the gap on the Boston Bruins in the wild card race, New York fell behind 5-0 by the time the first period was over.
There is perhaps even more bad news for the Islanders: Hamonic wasn’t on the bench to begin the second period.
The Islanders have since provided an update: Hamonic will not return to this game due to an upper-body injury.
Talk about the worst possible start for the New York Islanders.
Trailing the Boston Bruins by four points for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, the Islanders lived through a nightmare to begin Thursday’s game, falling behind the Philadelphia Flyers by a score of 4-0 — before the midway point of the first period.
Dale Weise started the scoring at 4:30 of the first period. By the 9:19 mark, the Flyers opened up a four-goal lead and had already chased Islanders starting goalieThomas Greiss, who allowed three goals on eight shots.
Jaroslav Halak was brought into the game and promptly surrendered a goal to Jordan Weal.
It continued to get worse for the Islanders, who finished the first period trailing by five goals. Shots? They were 19-10 in favor of Philly. Yup. It was bad.
With Josh Ho-Sang in the box serving a double-minor for high sticking, Wayne Simmonds gave Philly a 5-0 lead with his 30th goal of the year.
Shaping up to be a long night for the Islanders.
For the first time since the lockout-shortened season, the Ottawa Senators will not have star defenseman Erik Karlsson in their lineup.
With the Sens four points back of Montreal for the Atlantic Division lead, Karlsson will not play tonight versus the Minnesota Wild, which ends his ironman streak at 324 consecutive games played.
Karlsson trails Brent Burns by only five points for the lead in that category among NHL defenseman. He also logs close to 27 minutes of ice time per game. Only three blue liners in the entire league — Dustin Byfuglien, Drew Doughty and Ryan Suter — play more on average per game.
The injury reportedly occurred when Karlsson blocked a shot against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. Trade deadline acquisition Jyrki Jokipakka is expected to make his debut for Ottawa, per the Citizen.
“If we miss him for a game or two, we’re not sure what’s going to happen,” forward Mark Stone told the Ottawa Citizen. “He’s the best defenceman in the world. If you take him out of your lineup, it’s obviously a huge blow.”
The Boston Bruins hold the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference, and they will look to continue their push for the playoffs when they host the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
You can catch the game on NBCSN (7:30 p.m. ET) or online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
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Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
McAvoy has the talent to improve Bruins right now
NHL on NBCSN: Bruins continue push for playoff spot against Stars
Stars go deeper than rock bottom in Ruff’s ‘worst game’ with team