Matt Cooke has reached out to Erik Karlsson, but the Senators’ superstar has no intention of responding to his message.
“I received a text. I didn’t think too much of it and I didn’t reply. I don’t think we have anything to say to each other,” Karlsson said on Friday morning. “He said what he thought was right. 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.”
Karlsson spoke to the media for the first time since suffering a season-ending injury nine days ago in Pittsburgh. His Achilles tendon was sliced 70 per cent in the second period of their Feb. 13 game at Consol Energy Center, and slow-motion replays of the incident clearly showed Cooke’s skate slicing into the back of Karlsson’s calf.
“He reached out his leg, which I don’t think he has any reason to do, and that’s why it happened,” explained Karlsson. “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 a leg in a cast.”
Karlsson indicated that he felt Cooke was reckless on the play and stopped short of saying the Penguins forward deliberately tried to injure him.
“I think the situation could have been prevented. I don’t think it would have happened if it was another type of player,” added Karlsson. “But I don’t think his intention was to cut me with his skate. I refuse to believe that anyone would do that.”
“He’s been after me before. Ever since I got into the league, he’s one of the guys I always remember playing against and always being aware of. It’s a freak incident — but I still think it’s an injury should not have happened.”
Karlsson, the league’s reigning Norris Trophy winner, will miss the rest of the season with the injury. His rehabilitation process is still not clear, as he will have to wait a few weeks to put pressure on his left foot. Any talk of him returning for this year’s playoffs — even if the Sens are still alive in late May — seems overly optimistic.
“I’ll be back, but the question is when. For sure, next season. It’s tough to say right now with my foot in the cast, I can’t really do anything with it,” says Karlsson. “The doctors did a great job and said I shouldn’t have no problems going forward. So when I’ll be back I’ll be 100 per cent and hopefully in better shape than before.”
A Kevlar sock may have prevented the injury to Karlsson and the defenceman says he will consider wearing one in the future after this incident. He says most players don’t find the cut-proof socks very comfortable and he’s hoping there will be some innovation coming soon that allows more players to wear them.
“Obviously this is going to change how I look at things. It sucks to get cut. Hopefully going forward, some company will try and figure something out.”