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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'He's been after me before:' Karlsson

Sen says Penguin was out to get him

Posted: 02/23/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Senators just can't catch a break.

With the club already plagued by injuries to defenceman Erik Karlsson (Achilles) and forward Jason Spezza (back), the Senators' misfortune continued Thursday night when goalie Craig Anderson suffered a sprained right ankle against the New York Rangers.

Anderson was injured when Chris Kreider was tripped in front and fell into the unsuspecting netminder. Anderson is listed as day-to-day and GM Bryan Murray doesn't anticipate Anderson being out more than three or four days.

And that was a relief to Anderson's teammates.

"Just the way he went down and the way he was having a tough time getting off the ice a few of us were pretty scared," said defenceman Marc Methot. "With the severity of Karlsson's injury you just assumed that (Anderson's) was pretty bad to so we're glad to see him in good spirits and walking around a bit."

Robin Lehner was recalled from AHL Binghamton and was on the ice for Friday's practice.

Karlsson, the Norris Trophy winner last season as the NHL's top defenceman, spoke Friday for the first time since suffering his season-ending Achilles injury just over a week ago.

Karlsson was hurt when Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke lifted his leg in what appeared to be an attempt to pin Karlsson against the boards. However, his skate blade caught the back of Karlsson's leg.

"I knew exactly who it was (behind me) so I took a bit of caution," said Karlsson. "He missed the hit and still got me somehow.

"I think the situation could have been prevented and I don't think it would have happened if it was a different type of player."

Karlsson refuses to believe Cooke intentionally cut him but feels Cooke was aiming to get him.

"He's been after me before," Karlsson said. "Ever since I got in the league it's one of the guys I remember always playing against and always being aware of.

"It's a freak incident, but I still think it's an injury that shouldn't have happened."

Cooke reached out to Karlsson via text but the Senators' star didn't respond.

"I received a text, but didn't think too much of it and didn't reply," he said. "I don't think we have anything to say to each other."

Karlsson underwent season-ending surgery and doctors are confident the 22-year-old will have a full recovery.

"They said I should have no problems going forth," said Karlsson. "When I'll be back I'll be 100 per cent and hopefully in even better shape than I was before."

Karlsson was playing exceptionally at the time of his injury and admits having to watch the team from a distance is difficult.

Despite the severity of the injury Karlsson remains optimistic and in good spirits.

"It's tough but at the same time it's a situation you can't change," he said. "I can't get my head down because of this thing or it's just going to make me feel even worse."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 23, 2013 C2

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