In a nightmare scenario for the Ottawa Senators, Erik Karlsson had to be helped off the ice late in the second period versus the Pittsburgh Penguins after Matt Cooke appeared to step on the back of his leg during a hit along the boards.
It's pretty much never good news when you can hear the player scream chillingly after the collision, and this one was no exception. Ottawa was quick to announce the injury, and it's basically a worst-case scenario:
Update on Karlsson: Erik suffered a laceration to his left achilles, which will require surgery to repair. He will be out indefinitely.
If you're not squeamish, here's the hit in slow-motion, where it's much, much more horrifying:
It goes without saying that Karlsson is one of Ottawa's most important players.
Coming into Wednesday night, he had 6 goals in 13 games, tops among defencemen, and was averaging 27:52 a night, second only to Jack Johnson in Columbus. Karlsson also leads the NHL in shots on goal with 62. Johnson is second among defencemen in this category at 36. Again: 36.
All of that in mind, Ottawa would have had a hard time stomaching this one regardless of who the hitter was, but the fact that it's Matt Cooke just exacerbates the whole thing. Cooke has been involved in several borderline (or fully across the line) plays in his career, some of them injurious. Even if he had no intention of hurting Karlsson, his reputation precedes him.
Despite the fact that he's cleaned his game up (not to mention that he's a pest, not the devil) people are going to assume he meant to do this. But that would be unfair. It looked like an unfortunate accident, which is typically what skate cuts tend to be.
Still, blaming Cooke for Karlsson's injury is going to happen. When it does, keep in mind that blame is a common cognitive distortion often used by people who are panicking, and if you're a Senators fan, that's what you're doing right now.
Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney
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