Erik Karlsson shown plenty of love in emotional return to Ottawa

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Erik Karlsson can now finally turn the page on his move to the San Jose Sharks.

On Saturday afternoon, Karlsson returned to Canadian Tire Centre for the first time since the September trade that sent him to San Jose. After getting the solo lap treatment during warmups, the former Ottawa Senators captain was honored with a video tribute and a long ovation following the game’s first television timeout.

“I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t know this was coming up and that I haven’t been thinking about it,” Karlsson said on Friday after the team’s practice in Ottawa. “But at the same time, I’ve been trying to stay focused on the tasks that we’ve had at hand and the games that we’ve played before this game.”

(Fun note: Karlsson’s return comes on the five-year anniversary of Daniel Alfredsson’s return to Ottawa.)

Admitting he was feeling a bit anxious upon returning to the city where he grew up as an NHL player, Karlsson, who spent nine years and 627 games with the team, said he was unsure how he would be received by Senators fans. It was pretty clear that considering how things are going in that city between the fans and the team’s ownership, there was no doubt he was going to be showered with love.

“I’ve had nothing but great memories there and I’m again looking forward to creating more,” Karlsson said Friday. “[Saturday] afternoon is going to be another one of those great memories.”

MORE: As Karlsson returns to Ottawa, don’t believe the anti-hype

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.