Senators GM Bryan Murray made the announcement on Wednesday, saying that Karlsson is effectively done for the season after having surgery on his Achilles tendon that was 70 percent severed on Wednesday night.
"Erik had surgery this morning to repair a 70% cut in his achilles. Recovery time is 3-4 months" - #Sens GM Bryan Murray— Ottawa Senators (@NHL_Sens) February 14, 2013
That's as big of a blow as the Senators could have taken, especially already without Jason Spezza for an extended amount of time. Karlsson is the best offensive defenseman in the game today and had been stellar this season.
"I'm outraged at the fact we lost Erik Karlsson," Murray said Thursday. "It changes things dramatically. You lose a fair amount of skill."
The nasty injury came on a play in Wednesday's loss at Pittsburgh. In a battle for the puck up against the boards, Karlsson was trying to play the puck when Matt Cooke of the Penguins came from behind and appeared to try and get his skate in the battle to pin the puck. Instead, he ended up stepping on Karlsson's leg, causing the injury.
Murray was none too pleased about it, as you might expect. He was upset at losing a player of Karlsson's caliber and saw who it was that hurt Karlsson and so he made the jump. Cooke has a long history of being dirty so he suggested that perhaps it wasn't clean.
The league doesn't see it the same way. Cooke will not face a supplemental discipline hearing.
"They suggested it was a hockey play gone bad," Murray said of Brendan Shanahan's explanation. "I suggested Cooke has somewhat of a history."
I understand why Murray is upset but it really does look like just a freak play. To be honest, it amazes me that more plays like this and other cuts with skates don't happen a lot more often in hockey. It's almost miraculous.
The Senators don't have much time to stew over the loss, though, they have to move on. Being without arguably their top two players (Craig Anderson would be the other in the conversation this season) they need some help. They've struggled offensively since Spezza went down, it will only get much worse without Karlsson.
That means Murray is going to explore the options on the trade market, probably at defense. Just don't expect a block-buster move or anything.
"I don't want to give up the best prospect in my organization for a short-term guy here," Murray said while also saying he doesn't want to give up top draft picks.
The chances are the Senators aren't going to get much in return without giving up any of those assets, and that's fine. The Senators aren't going to be real competitors sans Karlsson, it's not worth it to risk the future for a short-lived run this season.
You can watch Murray's entire press session here.
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