Report: Travis Zajac warned Erik Karlsson not to return


Many believed that Erik Karlsson wouldn’t be back until the 2013-14 season after suffering his Achilles injury, so plenty of people are surprised that he’s set to return to action against the Washington Capitals tonight. At least one player with a similar issue in his history doesn’t think it’s a great idea.

New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac struggled to return from surgery related to his own ailment last season, and while his issue was a rupture instead of a clean cut, he’s speaking from experience. The Ottawa Citizen’s James Gordon passes along word from Team 1200 that Zajac advised Karlsson not to play on Thursday:

As yesterday’s post points out, the 22-year-old defenseman looks primed to come back from the injury in 71 days, which is almost three weeks earlier than a previous best-case scenario.

Karlsson’s a young star who’s in the first season of a seven-year, $45.5 million contract, so it’s clear that the stakes are high here. (It’s hard to shake the parallels to other athletes like Robert Griffin III if you’re the worrying type.)

Of course, the upside is alluring, too: the Senators get the defending Norris Trophy candidate back in time to shake off some rust before the playoffs.

It should be an interesting gamble to watch.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?