The comeback is complete.
That was the story on Thursday as reports confirmed Erik Karlsson would return to the Senators lineup on Thursday to take on the Capitals in Washington.
The return comes 71 days after Ottawa GM Bryan Murray said the 22-year-old’s season was done.
On Feb. 13, Karlsson was cut by Pittsburgh forward Matt Cooke’s skate, which resulted in a 70 percent laceration of his Achilles tendon.
The injury was supposed to sideline the reigning Norris winner for 3-4 months, essentially ruling out any chance of a return for the regular season and/or playoffs.
Apparently Karlsson didn’t get the memo.
He resumed skating three weeks ago — a stunning recovery in its own right — and will get back into the lineup after missing just 31 games.
It looks as though Karlsson will resume all usual activity as well. He was paired with regular defense partner Marc Methot during the pregame skate, and worked on the power play alongside Sergei Gonchar.
His return couldn’t come at a better time.
The Sens are in the midst of a two-game losing streak and need a victory to secure a playoff spot for the second consecutive season.
What’s more, the team has struggled to score goals of late — just two scored in losses to the Leafs and Penguins — and could certainly use Karlsson’s offense. He had 10 points through the first 14 games of the year and still leads all Sens defensemen in goals, with six.
Update: Here’s confirmation from Karlsson himself, via Twitter…
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.