The Ottawa Senators wrapped up their final home game of what has been a tumultuous 2017-18 season on Monday, registering a 6-5 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. And yet, despite the back-and-forth action and some milestone performances, it was what happened after the final whistle that raised the most eyebrows.
Following the end of the tilt, Senators captain Erik Karlsson skated over to an empty net and collected the game puck, tucking it into his pants before skating back towards the tunnel.
The hockey world took notice, with some wondering if Karlsson was collecting a keepsake to commemorate his final game in a Senators jersey.
The two-time Norris Trophy winner saw his name run through the rumour mill for months earlier this year, culminating in a 2018 trade deadline wherein it seemed he was as good as gone. However, despite the club’s front office listening to offers on a potential blockbuster, Karlsson remained in Ottawa following the late-February deadline.
With questions of his future with the Senators now focused on the off-season, Karlsson spoke to Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch about the potentially controversial puck-collecting following Monday’s game.
“I was down there and I saw it was in the net so I just picked it up and decided to keep it,” Karlsson told Garrioch. “I haven’t (thought about the final home game) until now.”
The Senators captain had three points in the narrow loss, lifting his season total over the 60-point plateau for the sixth time in his career. With Monday’s game in tow, Ottawa’s record sits at 27-41-11.