NHL Canadian Corner – Valentine’s Day, 2013.

Senators lose Erik Karlsson to injury during Senators-Penguins game, a recap of the Stars-Flames game, plus the latest on Evander Kane, Joffrey Lupul, Manny Malhotra and more.

Erik Karlsson yells in pain after his left Achilles tendon was lacerated.

Erik Karlsson yells in pain after his left Achilles tendon was lacerated.

PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW/OTTAWA CITIZEN: A serious injury to Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson overshadowed the Penguins 4-2 victory over the Senators. Karlsson will require possible season-ending surgery to repair a lacerated left Achilles tendon after it was cut by the skate blade of Penguins forward Matt Cooke.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is a serious blow for a Senators team already missing star center Jason Spezza until the end of April and with Milan Michalek hobbled by a lower body injury. Senators GM Bryan Murray was furious, accusing Cooke of deliberately injuring Karlsson, the 2012 Norris Trophy winner. Despite Cooke’s previous reputation for dirty play, the video indicates this was an accident.

Cooke denied he tried to hurt Karlsson, claiming he was simply battling for the puck. It has yet to be determined if the league will review the play to determine if supplemental discipline is required. There was no penalty on the play.

CALGARY HERALD/DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Cammalleri ended his scoring drought with a hat trick and Flames captain Jarome Iginla had two assists and a fighting major as the Flames downed the Dallas Stars 7-4. Brenden Morrow scored twice for the Stars.

WINNIPEG SUN: In an upcoming interview with The Hockey News, Jets star Evander Kane claimed racism was behind some of the criticism he’s received.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In my opinion, much of the criticism Kanes receives is because he’s young, cocky, outspoken and wealthy, but I agree that some of the criticism could be because he’s black.

TORONTO STAR: It could take another month until Maple Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul, who is sidelined with a broken forearm, returns to action.

VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Manny Malhotra’s absence from the Canucks lineup for personal reasons is giving Andrew Ebbett an opportunity to get more playing time.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Jack Todd points out the Canadiens need to get bigger and tougher, something they haven’t been in two decades.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not as though the Canadiens haven’t drafted big, tough players. The problem is those players rarely pan out. Successive managements have also  had a fetish for overstocking the Habs with small, speedy forwards via trades and free agency, but fail to bring in enough players with size, skill and toughness.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The slumping Oilers need points soon before embarking on a nine-game road trip.


  1. I saw the play last night and I don’t think Cooke did it purposely. I know he has a reputation for dirty stuff but it looked like he was balancing on his right leg while jostling for position, then got his balance and put his foot down, unfortunately, on Karlsson’s leg. The only way we’d know if he did it purposely is if he admitted it, which he wouldn’t regardless. This is such a horrible break for the team and especially Karlsson. He was playing amazing even after a breakout year. Now as a huge Sens fan I say let’s stop winnin’ for McKinnon!!! Or maybe Anderson can balance on his nose instead of his head to steal more games than he already has. Spezza, Karlsson, Cowen, Michalek; almost a full line out, most of them first line players. Turris, Ziby, and Silfverberg are gonna have to step up.

  2. I saw the play and the replays and believe it was not an intentional injury by Cooke. In fact on another sports show they showed about a half dozen similar checks by different players who all lifted their leg as Cooke did. It really is just bad luck happening to a great young player on an already injury hampered team.

    The kind of criticism Kane is getting reminds me of another young, cocky, outspoken and wealthy player who is also black and plays for Montreal. The NHL is a league where being cocky is frowned on no matter how talented you are and humility is demanded more than expected unlike a couple of other pro sports.

  3. I agree with Jack Todd,and Lyle. The habs should pick up Matt Kassian off waiver’s and trade Weber and a draft pick to Col for Shane O’brien Both can fight and the issue with what happen with the leafs last Saturday will not happen again. Esp Colton Orr trying to take out Pleks at the knees! I would if i was MB!
    Keep up the great work Lyle always great to read your articles always thoughtful and insightful.

  4. If these guys were still using the old style hockey socks instead of the new Reebok, european style socks, this wouldn’t have happened. Those old style socks were designed to stop cuts from skate blades!

  5. another tough blow to the sens and their fans and i’m sure it will come as little consolation but i’m also sure ottawa will ice a better team in the years to come because of the adversity it faces this year. loosing spezza, karlsson, and michalek not only gives other players a chance to dress but to play important minutes and learn to be important parts of the team. when those stars return and join their improved teammates look out.

  6. Was it intentional.. only Cooke knows. His foot was awfully high off the ice and it did come down in a stomp.

    As for what Cooke said, that he didn’t intend to injure and was sorry… he probably said the same thing after he ruined the career of Marc Savard — I don’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth.

    For him to sit on the bench in the 3rd period smiling and joking as if nothing happened really got my blood boiling. And then to turtle like a coward when Neil challenged him near the end of the game.. .even made me madder. That would have settled the score for the Sens… now they will sit and wait until late April.

    So the Pens did the final damage to Spezza’s back and now Karlsson.. Payback will come in April.. keep your head on a swivel Cooke.

    The Pens have ruined any chance of the Sens making the playoffs this season. Maybe the Sens should spoil any run you have in the playoffs when they meet again in April.

    An eye for an eye mentality.

  7. if it was any other two players none of this hand wringing would be happening. to put things in perspective Kevin Bieksa had two such injuries within a two year period and in fact he was the player doing the hitting in the 2nd incident but it was the tendons in his ankle that were sliced. it’s bad luck and nothing more.

  8. @ sandy
    look at the way they are both tied up leading into the boards, cooke is slightly off ballance hence why his leg is up higher and spread wider than it normaly would be on this play, karlssons no way at fault on this(its what he is trained to do) but, he shuts his legs to protect the puck and bam skate to the back of the leg, cookes leg is still bent as it hits karlssons ankle making me belive this was not a stomp but rather a natual reaction to the sudden stop as there bodies hit the boards. this vid has more of a lead up to the hit and explains what im talking about. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvoMpbdA-0A tsn showed on the panel 2 of the same style plays from the stars flames game and both cases the player checking has there leg up not as high as cooke but still same play. trying to explain this to a sens fan that it is not intentional and a freak accident is like trying to convert you to a leafs fan, its not gonna happen lol. same thing happend to kevin bieksa in the 09/10 season but bieksa had a 90% tear and karlssons has been reported as a 70% still a devistating injury none the less

    this is very unfortunate for karlsson and the sens i think he will miss the year and with out spezza in the line up it gives a chance for the you bucks in your system to come up and make a case for them selves, this year is still considered a part of the rebuild and i dont see murry seeling off the farm to replace karlsson or spezza.

    • I agree JayvsShark, no-one really knows what Cooke’s intentions were however I, and I’m sure many others, would like to believe that this wasn’t intentional. Cooke’s reputation precedes him and as a result there’s deserved doubt. As for the Senator’s, making the playoff’s this season is now highly unlikely however on the bright side, providing Spezza and Karlsson recover fully from their surgeries, the experience the younger players get from the additional ice time should pay dividends in the future. I believe it’s safe to say that most hockey fans want to watch the most highly skilled players in the world play. Sadly we lost another one last night…