Originally posted on The 6th Sens  |  Last updated 2/22/13

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 18: Erik Karlsson #65 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 18, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Today the Ottawa Senators held a press conference for the purpose of making Erik Karlsson available to the mainstream media for the first time since Matt Cooke cut seventy-percent of the star defenceman's achilles tendon with his skate.  As always, my thoughts in bold.  How are you feeling? “Pretty good, I think. The last few days, it has been really better and I can feel the foot.” Can you bring us back to the day of and what was going through your mind at the time of the situation? “I mean, I think it’s a normal situation. The puck came around the corner and I was going to get it and I had a guy behind me. And I knew exactly who it was, so I was taking a bit of caution. You know, he missed the hit and still got me somehow.” The Erik Karlsson "I mean" count is officially at one.  Did you feel that it was deliberate? “I think the situation could have been prevented. I don’t think it would have happened if it was another type of player, but I don’t think it was his intention to cut me with his skate. I refuse to believe that anyone would do that. I still think the situation and the injury could have been prevented.” Matt Cooke said that he reached out to you, did you reciprocate? “I received a text. (I) didn’t think much of it. (I) didn’t reply. I don’t think that we have anything to say to each other. I mean, he’s been after me before. I think he, ever since I got in the league, it’s one of the guys who you remember always playing against and always being aware of. It’s a freak incident but I think it’s still an injury that should not have happened.” Karlsson's not kidding when he says he's always being aware of. Check out the following GIF, Karlsson doesn't  even blink while keeping his eyes on Cooke.  Did you not think that the apology was genuine? “Tough to say.  I think he said what he thought was right and you know, I think you’re going to have to ask him what he wrote. At least he reached out, which I didn’t expect, and I think we’re going to leave it at that.” After the achilles incident, can you blame Karlsson for questioning the intentions of Cooke?  How do you think the injury could have been prevented? “As soon as I see it’s him, I know what’s going on. I mean, I’ve been around long enough to know who’s going to hit you and who’s not. As I always do, I move in the last second and he misses me. And he still reaches for me, I lose my strap on my helmet. His hands are high and he reached out his leg, which I don’t think he has any reason to do. And that’s why it happened. He has full control of his body and he knows exactly what he’s doing out there, and that’s why I’m sitting here with my leg in a cast.” Hilarious that earlier, a reporter directed a question to Karlsson asking about whether Cooke had reached out to him and then Karlsson just describes the hit using the words 'reaches for me' and 'reached out'. Let's give Cooke some credit here, he's consistently reaching out for Karlsson.  Do you feel pretty confident that you’ll be able to come back? “I’ll be back, the question is when. For sure next season, I mean, it’s tough to say right now with my foot in the cast. So most of the time, I mean, I can’t do really do anything with it. But, I mean, the doctors did a great job and they said, I should have no problems going forward. So when I’ll be back, I’ll be one hundred percent and hopefully, even in better shape than I was before.” Do you have any hope for the possibility that you’ll be back this year? “Yeah, I mean, the team is playing well. It’s pretty tough to watch to be honest with you. You know, when the guys are doing so well, you want to be out there and helping and be a part of everything. You know, you never know when that time comes, if we’re still in it and you know, I’m feeling good and healthy… I’m going to have to wait a couple of weeks I think to really know how long (the recovery) will really take. I mean, they say that everybody is different, as well. I was fortunate that the whole Achilles tendon wasn’t cut, and hopefully it could (heal) a little quicker than normal.” Everbody is different. Different people have access to deer antler spray. Same thing.  When will you be out of a cast Erik? “I can remove it. I do it. I slept without the first night tonight. It’s fine. It’s just that I can’t put any weight on it and I can’t really do anything with the foot. It’s just hanging there. When I have the cast on, it’s in the position so I can’t move my tendons there, so I can walk around and it takes me time awhile to get anywhere but it’s okay.” Are you trying to stretch it out? “Yeah, I mean, the foot is kind of like this in the downward position, so I can’t really move it up-and-down or to the sides, so that’s the biggest problem right now.” On having to turn on the television to watch the team play on the road in Toronto… “I mean, this is the first time that I have ever had an injury where I know I’m not going to be back for a while, so it’s tough. But I mean, at the same time, it’s a situation that you can’t change. I mean, I’m in here right now and there’s nothing I can do about it to be on the ice. And you know, you’ve got to accept that. I mean, I can’t get my head down because of this thing and it’s just going to make me feel even worse. I’ve got to try and stay positive and you know, every time that I’m around the locker room, I’m still going to be a happy guy. And when I get home, my wife appreciates it if I’m happy as well. And I do it too, so I don’t find any reason to try and think in a negative way or anything like that. So, I just watch hockey like I always do and enjoy it and still try and imagine situations out there.” Did you get a sense that you were on the verge of doing something special out there this season? “No, I mean, I think my body felt great. I had a good start in Finland and came over here and was really excited to play hockey (same) as everybody else. I think the team played well and we had something good going on. We lost (Jason Spezza) and we were still playing really well and we knew we would get him back. Then came the Pittsburgh game and everything changed for me, at least. I still think the guys have kept their spirits up, playing great and finding ways to win games. And you know, that shows that we’re having a really good team even without some of the top players. Andy went down yesterday and (Ben Bishop) did a great job. You know, I think no matter what, we’re going to be fine. You know, we have a lot of years ahead that are going to be special for us, so I try and think long term and you know everybody that is injured is going to be back one hundred percent. The team is doing great right now, so it’s still a special season.” Did anyone reach out to you? “No, I don’t really know those guys, but I mean, obviously they have talked about it and you know, guys have told me. You know, some guys have had the same injury that has even been worse injuries than mine. And they’re back and playing great. I mean… I mean, they say it sucks in the beginning but for the long-term, it’s not that bad. I mean, you’re going to be one hundred percent and you know, you just got to do your rehab well and work hard every day and look forward. I have no problems with the kind of injury that I have for my future.” Had you tried the Kevlar sock and would you try it when you come back? “Probably, no. I mean obviously, since this happened to me, I probably am going to (try it). I mean, I think it’s one of those things that we’re going to have to keep looking at it; try and develop something that will fit everybody.  Right now, I think there’s one sort of Kevlar sock. It’s tough for everyone to wear it. I mean, everybody is different. I had no intentions of ever wearing it before. I mean, I don’t think it’s comfortable enough for me. You know, obviously this (injury) is going to change how I look on things and maybe more guys are getting their heads up for these kinds of things. I mean, it sucks to get cut. You know, hopefully going forward, some company will try and figure something out.” Did you hear about the injury to Zach Redmond who got cut above the knee? “I heard someone got cut, yeah. You know, it’s not fun. And it’s easy. It happens so easy. I mean, guys are laying down or whatever, guys get hit, it’s such an easy accident to happen. I think we have so much power nowadays and the skates are so sharp, I mean, if it takes in the wrong spot, it’s getting cut right away. You never want to see that happen, and you know, it’s going to be tough to get it completely out of the game but I think in some situations, it can be prevented.” Were you being chirped leaving the ice by the Pittsburgh bench after the injury? “No, not at all. Not at all. I think that as soon as it happened, I knew exactly who was behind me. I kind of figured that this was… I don’t think that he did it on purpose as I said. I don’t think he meant to cut me. He meant to hit me hard and try to knock me out. I mean, I wasn’t happy when I stood up there that it happened that it happened. I got no chirps whatsoever from their bench.” Was there a pop or something? “No, I felt that something happened right away when I hit the boards. The first thing I did was look down and saw that I was cut. I told the ref and he blew the whistle right away and I tried to stand on it and that’s when I felt that it was pretty deep.” Did you ever realize that the puck hit the net and that the play should have been blown dead? “Yeah, I mean, I did but the whistle wasn’t blown, so you don’t stop playing then. I don’t think just because the puck was out, the situation should never have happened because of that. I mean, things like that happen. You can probably find ten reasons a day for things to go differently if something else happens. I still think it’s a situation that could have been prevented, but not because of the puck being in the net though.” What was your reaction to the league passing this off as an accident? “Well, I mean, it’s a hockey play. It goes fast. It’s tough to say. I think they’re doing the best job they can. It’s not in our position to judge who gets suspended or not. It’s totally up to those guys and I don’t really have anything to say to that, I would think.” Have you heard anything much from the fans? “Yeah, obviously I’ve had a couple of neighbours over who have left me cards. It’s really nice that people care about you and every time I’m outside the rink or outside my car, and people always say nice things or wish me well. Obviously it feels good to know that people care about you and even a lot of players around the league have texted me, told me to get better and they feel for me. You know, it’s very much appreciated; especially at that time. I was at the hospital for six hours and had nothing to do, so it was nice to reply to some texts. And it’s nice to see that people care about you as well, I mean, it shows that there are a lot of good people around the world.” I heard that Alfie by your house with his kids… “Yeah, they came the same day as the surgery. Him and all the Swedes and Peter Regin as well, and all the kids. It was pretty nice just sitting on the couch and letting them run around and having someone else do the work while I’m sitting there with them. Obviously, we have a good relationship and it was fun to have the family over all at once.”   Are you trying to stay off of the foot as much as possible? “Yeah, I mean, right now I just lay on the couch and unfortunately watch golf. Yeah, it’s just one of those things - I ice most of the time and lay with my feet above my heart to get the swelling down; that’s pretty much what I can do.” Weird. Dany Heatley kept his head above his heart at all times. Amazingly, it never reduced the swelling of his head.  Do you like the fact that the owner came to your defence last week? “Yeah, I mean, obviously it shows that he understands a bit of the game. You know he cares. He cares about this team a lot. He cares about the players. What’s going on around the league, I think he’s very active with everything concerning that. So obviously, you know, I stand behind him and his comments about that. And that’s it.” Thought this was a bit of a leading question and almost impossible to answer for Karlsson except to say yes. Regardless what Erik actually thinks of Melnyk's hockey knowledge. Has anyone given you a precise timeline for recovery? “As I said, it’s tough to know right now. All we know is that the surgery went well and everything like that, so… (Karlsson looks at and picks up phone ringing on his podium). Oh, maybe it’s for me! No, as I said, maybe… I mean… as soon as I can start doing things with my foot -- as soon as I can start putting some pressure on it – and relying on it a bit more, I think we can really see how long it’s going to take. Hopefully it won’t take as long as estimated. I mean, I will do everything I can to try and really get it fixed as soon as possible but with these things, one of the most important things is you have to really wait and let itself heal one hundred percent before you really do anything. I know a lot of guys that have felt great and gone on too soon and too early and it made (the injury) even worse, so we have got to be really careful about when we start putting pressure on the foot and really doing things with it. I don’t know if that’s going to be two months or a month and a half or anything like that, so I’m just going to have to wait and see I think until that time comes.” How do you help the team when you can’t play? “It’s tough. I mean, when you’re hurt, it feels like you’re a bit on the outside even though you’re around the rink all of the time. You know, I still try to be the same guy that I’ve been ever since I got here. I mean, you know, every time that I’m around the guys, I try and talk a lot and keep their spirits up… Ask them what’s going on and how they’re feeling. I guess I’m the painful guy now asking them how they feel and how the game was and all the details and everything… you know, you’re still trying to help out where you can and don’t try and be in the way too much.  Just cheer them on and try and keep them happy.” And the Erik Karlsson 'I mean' count clocks in at a remarkable 36 uses. Thanks everyone, you've been a terrific audience! 
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