The Ottawa Senators did not expect elite puck-rushing defenseman Erik Karlsson to return this season from his torn Achilles tendon.
Normally such an injury requires three or four months of recovery after surgical repairs.
But Karlsson has been back at practice this week, skating full tilt. If he plays Thursday, he will return to action after missing just 71 days and 31 games.
He worked Wednesday with his old partner Marc Methot. “If he feels confident it’s time for him to play, he’ll play,” Senators coach Paul MacLean told reporters after practice.
This is a massive development for the Senators, who are still fighting to earn a playoff spot. Next up is a challenging game in Washington against the Capitals.
Having the NHL’s best defenseman back in the lineup will help. But, no, that won’t make Ottawa fans feel any better about Pittsburgh Penguin Matt Cooke, the nefarious agitator who injured him with his skate blade.