Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/19/14

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)
Erik Karlsson has already developed into one of the NHL’s best and most exciting players. That by itself makes him fun to watch even from afar. But he’s also integral to the success of the Ottawa Senators, which means his season-ending injury is obviously a crushing blow. That should almost go without saying, but we feel the need to say it anyway. The Senators were one of the league’s most pleasant surprises last season. Many had the Sens pegged for a last-place finish in the Northeast Division. They outperformed those expectations by just a little bit. Ottawa enjoyed a 92-point season, finishing in second place in the divsion in Boston and allowed them to sneak into the playoffs as the eighth seed. That was the end of the road for Paul MacLean‘s bunch, but not after taking the top-seeded Rangers to seven games in the first round. Karlsson was arguably the biggest reason for that surprising success. The 22-year-old Swede turned in one of the finest offensive seasons for a defenseman in a long time. He scored 19 goals, added 59 assists, and enjoyed a plus-16 rating (a big turnaround around compared to the minus-30 he posted in 2010-11). For that, Karlsson was named the Norris Trophy winner. He beat out the likes of Shea Weber and Zdeno Chara to do so, establishing himself as one of the game’s elite blue liners. Expectations were a little bit different this season. The Sens came into the year expecting to win, and Karlsson was expected to be their rock. He didn’t disappoint in the early going, logging 6-4-10 totals through 10 games while logging 27 minutes of ice time per game. That all came crashing down on Wednesday, thanks to the skate blade of Matt Cooke. A seemingly freak play, Karlsson was left with a presumably gruesome Achilles injury. It’s sad, no doubt, but there’s not much that could be done. General manager Bryan Murray says he didn’t lobby too much for supplemental discipline for Cooke, and while he admitted that perhaps something like a Kevlar sock might have helped Karlsson, Murray was quick to say that players don’t find the extra padding very comfortable (although it probably feels a little better than severing 70 percent of your Achilles). Murray also confirmed that injury will cost Karlsson the season. It’s pretty clear to see that, in the process, it will cost the Senators their season as well. There’s just no way they can come back from such a gut-punch loss. It’s not just Karlsson’s loss that they will have to absorb either. The Sens are already without Jason Spezza, a point-per-game player for his career. Ottawa must now try to survive in an improved Eastern Conference without its best defenseman (Karlsson) or its best center (Spezza). Then you consider they’ve lost 2009 first-round draft pick Jared Cowen for the season already. Forward Milan Michalek may miss some time after injuring himself in pregame warm-ups on Wednesday. “We’ve got eight guys out right now,” Sens general manager Murray told reporters Thursday. “That’s the hard part to swallow and obviously Erik’s the prime guy in this situation. “I can’t, this is really abnormal,” he said of the injury situation. “There’s no question about it.” Add it all up, and you can see why there’s not much hope anymore. Sure, Craig Anderson has been one of the best goalies in the business this season, with a 1.58 goals against average and a .949 save percentage through 12 starts. But even if he keeps up that pace, where is the offense going to come from? The Senators took a step forward in rebuilding last season, but with a pair of crippling injuries this season, they’re going to have to put that process on hold for at least a year.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

AUDIO: Reds skipper Bryan Price drops 77 f-bombs in rant

Monty Williams: Warriors home crowd noise 'out of hand'

LT thinks Philip Rivers won’t play for Chargers in 2015

Report: Kevin Ollie 'seriously considered' for Thunder job

Floyd Mayweather: I'm a better fighter than Muhammad Ali

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Video emerges of Warren Sapp talking about prostitute arrest

Chip Kelly in 2011: Tim Tebow is not our team's QB type

NBA commissioner: Sports gambling is 'good for business'

RG3 'wouldn't be bummed' if Redskins don't pick up option

Adrian Peterson would be the death of the Cowboys

Raptors GM fined $35K for comment about Paul Pierce

Cubs will reportedly call up prospect Addison Russell

Brewers' Scooter Gennett shares photo of nasty shower injury

WATCH: Fan at Pirates game hit by foul ball through netting

Hall of Famer Jim Palmer blasts David Ortiz over ejection

WATCH: President Obama leads 'O-H-I-O' chant

Fred Hoiberg shares video of him walking after heart surgery

DeAndre Jordan geeks out at Batman Exhibit

Philly welcomes Tim Tebow with 'tebowing' pretzel

Marshall Henderson trolls Erin Andrews over Stoll arrest

Steve Ballmer turned Lakers locker room into owner's lounge

Alex Rodriguez: Heir to the Empire

The Tim Tebow lottery ticket

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Mayweather: I'm better than Ali

WATCH: Sapp talks prostitute arrest

Jim Palmer blasts David Ortiz

Wayne Taylor Racing No. 10 car wins at Long Beach

Pat Riley takes shot at LeBron?

Philly welcomes Tim Tebow with 'tebowing' pretzel

Stop the Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady debate

Alex Rodriguez: Heir to the Empire

The Tim Tebow lottery ticket

If Tony Parker's not right, it's going to go wrong for Spurs

So the Mets might be contenders

Why Billy Donovan won't go to Oklahoma City

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.