Vancouver Canucks rookie sensation Elias Pettersson says the awkward collision between him and Jesperi Kotkaniemi was an honest accident and that there was no malicious intent behind the way the Montreal Canadiens forward hauled him down.
“He hooked my leg a little bit – I was going to reverse him or stop him – and it was an accident,” Pettersson told Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos as part of a wider-ranging one-on-one interview. “We got tangled up, we both fell down and I got in an awkward position. It wasn’t a dirty play or anything. He apologized afterwards, which shows good sportsmanship from him. So it was really just unlucky for me and it’s nothing too serious.”
Pettersson was forced to leave the Canucks’ 2-0 loss to the Canadiens Thursday midway through the second period when he appeared to twist his right leg falling awkwardly to the ice after getting tangled up brought down by Kotkaniemi.
No penalty was called on the play.
On Friday, the Canucks said there was no timetable set on a possible return for their top scorer and revealed that he would undergo an MRI for a right knee injury.
Despite the bleak outlook of a knee-related problem, Pettersson appears to be in high spirits.
“I’m feeling good,” Pettersson told Kypreos. “Feeling better today than yesterday. I can walk normal, so that’s good.”
The 20-year-old Pettersson had emerged as a clear Calder Trophy frontrunner leading all rookies this season in points (42), goals, (22) and assists (20).
You can watch Pettersson’s full sit-down interview with Kypreos Saturday on Hockey Central Saturday before the Canucks take on the Toronto Maple Leafs.