Karlsson as good as ever for Senators but in different way – NHL.com

OTTAWA — Erik Karlsson admits he was scared.

Four months ago, doctors removed half the ankle bone in the left leg of the Ottawa Senators defenseman during surgery to repair torn tendons.

During his recovery, doubt swirled through his head. How long would the recovery take? How effective could he be when he returned to the ice? Would he be able to maintain the same talent level that had made him the NHL’s top scoring defenseman in three of the previous four seasons?

He was overcome with a sense of relief last week when he was able to return to the Senators lineup. Heading into their game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; RDS2, TSN5, NBCSP, NHL.TV), he has six assists in four games and has resumed his role as the catalyst on the power play.

At the same time, he says this is a different Karlsson than we are used to seeing. He insists he has lost some of the natural skill he possessed earlier in his career. The skate laceration that tore 70 percent of the Achilles tendon in his left leg in 2013 has taken a toll, as did the foot and ankle injuries he sustained last season.

“I was worried this summer,” Karlsson, 27, said. “[The ankle] didn’t feel good for a very long time and I thought it was probably going to take a lot longer than it has. But those are the consequences or the risks that you take in this game sometimes. I just had to deal with it.

“But again, to have a major surgery, you wonder when and if I’ll be back, and if so, will I be the same again? And then deal with it when the time comes.”

Video: Karlsson causes king-sized headache for

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