May 16, 2013, 1:10 PM EDT
Even though he’s averaging a point per game and nearly 27 minutes a night in the playoffs, Erik Karlsson isn’t the same player he was prior to suffering a lacerated Achilles.
Just ask his coach.
“I don’t think he’s close to what he was before he got injured,” Paul MacLean told the Ottawa Citizen. “He was a dominant, dominant player, possibly the best player in the league at the time of his injury.
“Our expectation wasn’t that [his play] would be at that level.”
This is likely a case of coach protecting player.
In Game 1 of Ottawa’s Eastern Conference semifinal against Pittsburgh, Karlsson looked a step slow and somewhat hesitant during one of his poorer postseason efforts.
The reigning Norris winner didn’t look especially good making a questionable pinch (also laboring to recover) on Pascal Dupuis‘ goal:
That said, MacLean knew getting Karlsson back so quickly after such a serious injury would result in adjusted expecations.
“Our expectation is that Erik is going to make us a better team because of his abilities to move the puck and help us on the power play, to quarterback that,” MacLean explained.
“Our expectation isn’t that he’s the Norris Trophy-[winning] Erik Karlsson. We just want him to come out and play and help our team win, and let his teammates help him.”
- Price makes 43 saves as Senators’ magical run ends in controversy 15
- Video: Fast whistle costs Senators potentially critical goal 11
- WATCH LIVE: Today’s Stanley Cup playoff action 3
- Another Blues campaign ends in disappoint as Wild advance 84
- Crosby joining Team Canada at Worlds 16
- Here’s your Stanley Cup playoff TV schedule for today 12
- One more time, with feeling: Flames stage yet another comeback, eliminate Vancouver 25
- Keith conquers: Blackhawks come back, eliminate Predators 49
- Red Wings smother Lightning, take 3-2 series lead 23
- Going the distance: Isles edge Caps to force Game 7 43
- Too little, too late: Rangers stifle Penguins for 2-1 series lead (114)
- It’s Done: Rangers eliminate Penguins in overtime (108)
- Bettman under fire after saying ‘Katy Perry’ chant wasn’t sexist (92)
- Another Blues campaign ends in disappoint as Wild advance (90)
- Okposo blasts ‘idiot’ Wilson after physical outing versus Isles (82)