Erik Karlsson

Sens’ Karlsson skates, less than two months after sliced Achilles


There was a sight for sore eyes on the ice in Ottawa on Monday as Sens defensman Erik Karlsson skated for the first time since slicing his Achilles in mid-February.

Karlsson went through a workout with Senators power skating guru Marc Power, and looked “very good” throughout, according to CBC’s Dan Seguin.

The 22-year-old blueliner has been out of action since his left Achilles was sliced by Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke on Feb. 14.

The cut resulted in a 70 percent laceration, an injury that required immediate surgery and prematurely ended Karlsson’s campaign.

Or so it was said at the time.

In late March, Karlsson spoke with reporters and hinted that his season might not be finished after all.

According to Don Brennan of QMI Agency, Karlsson wouldn’t say no when asked if there was a chance he could return for the playoffs, and said it was “going to be a while” before he resumed skating.

Well, “a while” turned out to be just under two weeks, suggesting his recovery might be more accelerated than originally thought.

At the time of the injury, Sens GM Bryan Murray said typical recovery lasts 3-4 months. But several people noted Karlsson’s recovery could be made easier because there was only a 70 percent laceration of the tendon, rather than full one.

A 100 percent laceration would require a “shortening” of the tendon, which often complicates the recovery process.

Karlsson, the reigning Norris Trophy winner, had 6G-4A-10PTS in 14 games prior to getting hurt. He still leads all Senators defensemen in goals.

Update: Here’s video of Karlsson skating, courtesy CBC Ottawa…


Devils send ’15 first-rounder Zacha back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.

Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.

The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.

“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.

The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.

Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.