Ottawa coach Paul MacLean said his stellar defenseman, Erik Karlsson, is nowhere close to being his dominant self since his surprisingly swift return from a torn Achilles tendon suffered Feb. 13.
Karlsson, last season's Norris Trophy winner, did not quite use the same words Thursday when asked how he's coming along.
“I feel good,” he said. “I don't feel like I should complain or anything like that. It is what it is. And I don't think I could have felt any better at this time. ... It's not something I can change. I've just got to figure my body out and figure out a way to be more successful.”
Karlsson was expected to miss the entire season, playoffs included. But he came back for the first-round series opener against Montreal.
“I knew it wasn't gonna be easy, especially going straight into the playoffs,” he said. “The game changes a lot from the regular season. But as I said, it is what it is.”
MacLean said 6-foot-2, 230-pound winger Guillame Latendresse likely will play in Game 2 on Friday for the first time since the first-round opener against Montreal. He has been a healthy scratch since then, but MacLean is looking for a physical presence.
“He has the ability to do it,” MacLean said. “He has done it in the past, and the expectation is that he came out of the lineup and now when he gets back in, he has the opportunity to show that he can indeed do that.”
— Bob Cohn
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