After years of working hard in the weight room during each off-season, Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson realized that it made more sense for him to take a different approach.
TSN shared video of his discussion with reporters, which provided candid insight on his viewpoints regarding getting prepared for a coming season.
“I do all my conditioning on the ice. I don’t do any conditioning during the summer,” Karlsson said Tuesday. “My issue has always been keeping weight on and trying to get bigger and stronger and if I do that throughout the summer as well, I can’t put any weight on and keep it on during the year.”
It’s strange to hear Karlsson – still just 25 – discuss how he’s adapted his regimen compared to when he was younger. Then again, maybe the Swedish defenseman simply knows his body that well, and perhaps even understands how quickly things can change for NHL athletes.
It certainly doesn’t seem like fitness is an issue for him. He generated 21 goals and 66 points in 2014-15, taking home the second Norris Trophy of his career.
Karlsson also didn’t see a dip in ice time, as he came in a little past 27 minutes per game (27:15) for the third straight season.
It’s not exactly as if he’s loafing out there, as he uses his exceptional skating ability to lead the rush and dramatically improve Ottawa’s transition game.
Some might point to comments like these when scapegoating – that always seems to happen with a small segment of fandom, doesn’t it? – but it seems like Karlsson probably knows what he’s doing.
(H/T to The Score)
We wrote yesterday about how most teams that win the Stanley Cup have an elite center, like Jonathan Toews.
Well, most teams that win the Cup also have an elite defenseman, like Duncan Keith, the 2015 Conn Smythe Trophy winner.
Can John Carlson be that guy for the Washington Capitals?
The 25-year-old is coming off his best season as a professional. In 82 games, he had 12 goals and 43 assists, his 55 points ranking fifth among NHL defensemen, behind only Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, P.K. Subban and Dennis Wideman.
And with the departure of Mike Green, the Caps will need Carlson more than ever to provide offense from the back end, while also continuing to improve in all the other areas of his game.
“I think with Carly, there’s been areas of his game that sort of would lag, and I think he’s done a really good job of focusing on those areas, so he can have that consistency,” coach Barry Trotz said in February, per the Washington Post. “He’s maturing as a player. He’s still a very young player who’s now entering the front end of the prime of his career. There’s lot of good things to see from him.”
Related: ‘It took him a few years, but Victor Hedman’s arrived’
What happens after the honeymoon period wears off?
The Ottawa Senators may be a great test run for such theories in 2015-16. After all, there was a stark difference between the team that left MacLean making sardonic jokes on his way out the door to the one that stormed its way into the postseason under Dave Cameron.
So, what happens when Cameron gets to hold a training camp with this roster? Also, what happens if their goaltending is merely average after Andrew Hammond’s stupendous, burger-earning run?
One interesting thing to consider: some credit Ottawa’s turnaround with Cameron as much as they did with “The Hamburglar.” The possession improvements from MacLean to Cameron were occasionally drastic, but the common theme is that younger players like Mike Hoffman and Mark Stone emerged while veterans faded into the background.
Perceptions change, but the personnel’s largely the same
There are exceptions (see: Robin Lehner’s exodus), yet the Senators are more or less the same team after a quiet summer. It’s interesting, then, that it’s still difficult to forecast this team’s future.
Hoffman, Stone and Mika Zibanejad saw big gains under Cameron. Kyle Turris proved that he can be a top center in the NHL. More will be expected from Bobby Ryan while Erik Karlsson is, well, Erik Karlsson.
The offense looks like a solid strength, but Ottawa’s roster faces plenty of questions. The defense sees a huge drop-off beyond their top pairing of Karlsson and Marc Methot while Hammond could easily generate a goalie controversy with probable starter Craig Anderson.
In other words, by defying expectations in 2014-15, Cameron and the Senators raised the bar awfully high for next season. Will they fall short of that mark?