Let’s rewind a bit, shall we? In 2008 the Ottawa Senators selected in the first round, 15th overall, Erik Sven Gunnar Karlsson. Everyone was like, “WHO?” Who indeed. He quickly told us exactly who he was. A skilled defenceman, Karlsson’s hockey sense is bar-none; he knows where other players are on the ice before they even get there. His passing abilities make it seem like Erik is not from the planet Earth, but from the planet Mars. If they had hockey on Mars of course. Karlsson is so good he won the Norris Trophy in the 2011/2012 season and again in 2014/2015. I had 2 of my 4 sons in the 2011/2012 and 2014/2015 seasons. Coincidence? I think YES.
In 2012, he was the NHL leading vote-getter in Allstar voting, receiving almost one MILLION fan votes. Think about it, if I had one dollar for every vote, I would almost be a millionaire. But I’m not a millionaire because getting a dollar for someone’s votes is just ridiculous. Why would anyone even make that analogy? Dumb.
In February of 2013, Karlsson had his Achilles’ tendon sliced by Pittsburg’s meany Matt Cooke. Sens fans were biting their lips as he was brought in for surgery to sew it back together. It looked like he was going to miss the rest of the season. I mean, when you slice your Achilles’ tendon you shouldn’t be able to play hockey, like, you need your Achilles’ tendon just to physically get your skates on. Miraculously, unbelievablely, inhumanly, 10 weeks to the day, he returned to the lineup. And not only that, the guy helped the Sens beat the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. I mean, I don’t even go to the movie theatre when I stub my big toe. Just think about how uncomfortable it would be to sit there for 2 hours with a sore toe, sometimes 3 hours if it’s the Titanic movie. Then you’ve got your previews which take FOREVER and you’re just like, get on with it….ok, wait what was I talking about?
Oh yeah, in October 2014, the Ottawa Senators named Karlsson as the 9th captain in the team’s history which brought me directly to the bars to celebrate our newfound leader. I chugged a good keg or two, or possibly 3, I don’t remember. As his flowing locks grew and grew, he became like a rockstar with a beautiful sense of humour. He made us giggle with glee on ice as well as off ice. He became the first defenceman since Paul Coffey (in the 1985/1986 season) to finish in the top 5 in scoring as well as the first defenceman since Bobby Orr (in the 1974/1975 season) to lead the league in assists.
In 2016/2017, he lead the Senators right up to one goal away from the Stanley cup final. They lost in OT in game seven. Insert sad emoji here. Although heartbroken, the city was thankful for the close win and were excited for the team’s future.
Unfortunately, that hope quickly vanished that summer of 2017 as it was reported that Erik Karlsson needed more surgery to repair his ailing ankle. He missed the beginning of the season and we all (fans and players) felt that hole he left. When he was able to come back to the lineup, it was clear that he was not 100% his dominant self. And as painful as it is for me to write this, our beloved team struggled. Erik eventually found his stride and started to gain momentum but the season was almost done and the Senators finished 2nd last in the league. The writing was on the stall. The team is going in a new direction, and Erik was not in that same direction. He was traded to the San Jose Sharks for future prospects. And here we are.
It’s undeniably clear that lots of fans are devastated as we say goodbye to this generational player who is most definitely still in his prime. As Erik says his goodbyes to Ottawa, Canada we are left wondering what the future holds for the Senators. Will we be able pick ourselves up and rebuild? Time heals all wounds, but I don’t get that because how does putting a clock on your wound help. That just leaves it open for bacteria and infections so that saying is ridiculous.
Sens fans, we can’t know what’s in store for us, but we can take a minute to reflect on what Erik has accomplished here. During his 10 year tenure as an Ottawa Senator, Erik Sven Gunnar Karlsson played 627 games, scoring 126 goals (3rd highest scorer for the team), 392 assists for a grand total of 518 points. Just a beautiful man he is. And I’m glad to have had him, even if only for a decade. Good luck Erik, we wish you all the best.