Karlsson to be back bigger, faster, stronger?

Expect Erik Karlsson to come back faster, stronger in his return from an Achilles injury, says veteran defenceman Sami Salo.

Lightning defenceman Sami Salo, battling Daniel Alfredsson during a game in March, says Erik Karlsson's injury shouldn't hamper the Senators' star defenceman in the future. Photo by Wayne Cuddington, The Ottawa Citizen.

 

“Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology….Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.”

TAMPA. Fla. — As television fans of the mid-1970s know, the above was part of the opening narrative for The Six Million Dollar Man.
It came to mind Tuesday as Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Sami Salo discussed the quick return to the ice of the Senators’ $6.5-million man, Erik Karlsson, following Achilles tendon surgery on his left leg in February.
“Speaking to the specialist who operated on mine — he actually did (soccer star David) Beckham’s Achilles, too — he said it’s actually stronger than your other (tendon),” said Salo, who had Achilles surgery in July 2010. “It shouldn’t be susceptible to any more (injuries), but when you do explosive training, anything’s possible, with all the torque and power you put into different training.
“I’ve met a few track-and-field triple jumpers who had Achilles (surgery) before and they returned to form and jumped longer than before, so (Karlsson’s recovery) shouldn’t be a problem.”
Karlsson’s return to skating — he was back on the ice at the Bell Sensplex on Tuesday — has understandably generated plenty of buzz around the NHL. It was also on the tips of the tongues of Senators fans from Ottawa who were in the seats at the Tampa Bay Times Forum to watch Tuesday’s game here.
The Senators have offered no timetable for when, or even if, Karlsson could play again this season. Typically, it takes six months to return to action. Salo, a former Senator who was playing for the Vancouver Canucks at the time of his Achilles surgery, also took six months to recover.
“I probably skated after about 3 ½ months,” he said.“When mine happened, it sounded like somebody shot a shotgun in the area, with the tendon exploding. After the surgery, it really painful for the first couple of weeks, with the rehab was really slow. You have to be careful because you don’t want to stretch the tendon.
“If it’s loose, you’re screwed. I probably could have played a little earlier, but I didn’t want to take any chances at that time, especially being 36 at that time.”
Salo says the difference is that Karlsson’s tendon was cut, not ruptured as his was ­— “mine rolled up behind my knee,” he said — and the fact Karlsson is 22.
Recovery is usually quicker if a player is younger.
MAKING THE HOCKEY ROUNDS
If you happened to spot Ben Bishop in Ottawa on Monday and wondered if you were seeing things, don’t despair. The Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender, who made his home debut with his new team Tuesday against the Senators, was indeed in Canada’s capital again.
Bishop was traded to Tampa for Cory Conacher and a fourth-round pick last Wednesday.
After Tampa’s 4-2 loss Sunday in Washington, Bishop took a charter flight to Ottawa to pick up some belongings. He arrived back in Tampa late Monday night. How do you describe whirlwind? “Four games in six cities in two countries in six days,” said Bishop, who was meeting the media in Tampa for the first time Tuesday.
Bishop received plenty of congratulations from his former Senators teammates after shutting out the Carolina Hurricanes 5-0 in his Tampa debut last Thursday and he says it’s a bit different to be playing the Senators so soon since the deal.
“This is the first time that I’ve played against my ex-team, so it’s a first for me, but I think that once the puck drops, all the distractions go away,” he said before the game.
Meanwhile, Conacher was lugging several bags of luggage into the arena before the game. Conacher had only packed a few days of clothes when he was traded to Ottawa and was stocking up for his long-term stay in Ottawa.
BIG NIGHT FOR ANOTHER MURRAY FROM SHAWVILLE
Teena Murray, niece of Senators general manager Bryan Murray, had a major reason to celebrate Monday. She’s the director of Olympic Sports Performance at Louisville, which captured the NCAA men’s basketball championship. Louisville’s women’s team was also in the women’s NCAA championship game against Connecticut on Tuesday.

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