Erik Karlsson blames season-ending injury on Cooke

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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.”

Related:

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’