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’
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…