Erik Karlsson played his first game at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa as an NHLer on Oct. 8, 2009.
Just 3,341 days later, the Swedish superstar got the rookie treatment in the building he once called home.
The San Jose Sharks sent the defenceman out for a solo warmup lap – treatment typically, but not always, reserved for first-timers – ahead of Saturday’s game against the Senators.
The occasion was marked special of course, given that Saturday’s contest marked the first time Karlsson would play in Ottawa since the team traded the two-time Norris Trophy winner in September.
Karlsson’s return was a heavy storyline throughout the past week, given the success he had with the franchise, and the unsavoury way in which his time as a Senators ended.
Norris wins in 2012 and 2015, along with an Eastern Conference final appearance in 2017 mark the many highs the former captain had in the nation’s capital. But a disappointing 2017-18 season, a cyber-harassment charge against former teammate Mike Hoffman’s fiancée, and a lack of progress on a contract extension for the pending free agent, put an end to the 28-year-old’s time as a Senator.
He was greeted by a warm reception from the Canadian Tire Centre crowd, as expected.