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Eastern Conference

Senators’ Erik Karlsson Sets Sights On Season Debut Tonight

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The Ottawa Senators have plenty to be excited about with the debut of Erik Karlsson set for tonight.

Karlsson who will make his debut against the Vancouver Canucks at Canadian Tire Centre on Tuesday, is focused on hitting the ice.

“It’s going to be good” Karlsson said Monday. “I had the appropriate amount of time to get ready to play again. It’s exciting. I’m going to be a little bit rusty probably, but it’s better to get back into things as early as possible. Hopefully we’ll get better as we move on.”

Karlsson, 27, missed the first five games of the season while recovering from surgery to repair torn tendons in his left foot back in June.

“I think he’s the best player in the world, so it basically has an impact on everything,” Boucher said.

“Your breakouts, your transition, your [offensive] zone, your power play, your defensive play. I mean, it’s your leader” Senators coach Guy Boucher said about Karlsson’s impact.

“He is who he is. He’s such a presence. It’s not just a hockey player, it’s everything around it too. And it’s time.”

“It’s been easier for me to watch and be able to take my time and not get too antsy,” Karlsson said. “They’ve done a great job. I’m not coming in to do anything different. We’re going to keep doing the same things.”

“Nothing is easy, but I think he comes back in a state of mind where he doesn’t have to come in and be the hero,” Boucher said. “I think it’s good for Erik to know that, so he doesn’t have all that pressure. Imagine if we had lost every game and he’d be coming in right now? I’m not sure that would be a good situation either.”

Boucher said Karlsson could skate with different partners and no target has been set for how much he will play.

“We’re going to try to be smart here,” Boucher said. “We don’t need him to play 35 minutes. It’s going to be more about him, what he can take.”

Karlsson also shared his thoughts on if he thinks his foot would be 100%.

“No, I don’t think it will be. But again, I don’t think I’ve been 100 percent since I entered this league. I don’t think anyone is. It’s something you’re going to have to get used to if you’re a pro athlete no matter what sport you play. As you get older, you’re never going to feel as good as you did when you were a kid.

“It feels different and it’s going to feel different for a long time probably. It’s something I’m going to have to get used to. Again, I think playing is the best way to adapt to that and getting back to a new normal.”

Columbus Blue Jackets

Blue Jackets’ Zach Werenski Hoping to be Ready by Season Opener

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Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski is hoping to avoid missing the start of the 2018-19 regular season as he continues to recover from undergoing shoulder surgery earlier this year, according BlueJackets’com’s Brian Hedger.

“My goal, ultimately, is to be there for Game 1,” Werenski said. “You never want to miss time, you never want to miss games, so my goal going into training camp and into the season is to be ready for Game 1.

“If it’s later, like Game 5 or Game 10, whenever that is, I’m going to work to miss as few games as possible and be ready to help the team.”

Werenski, 21, has begun skating but hasn’t progressed to contact drills as he continues his journey back.

“I feel great out there,” Werenski said. “There’s no problems right now. I’m just kind of ramping it up here, trying to get my timing back. Everything feels good on the ice. I haven’t had any contact yet. That’s not until later. I probably won’t do that until probably halfway through training camp, but everything is good. Everything’s on pace. I actually don’t know what my timeline is, to be honest, but I’m hoping to be back toward the start of training camp – probably not Day 1, but as soon as I can be.”

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Eastern Conference

Capitals Add Scott Arniel, Reid Cashman to Coaching Staff

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The Washington Capitals have added Scott Arniel and Reid Cashman as assistants to the staff of head coach Todd Reirden, according to a team announcement made on Monday.

Arniel played in 730 NHL games with the Winnipeg JetsBuffalo Sabres, and Boston Bruins throughout the 80s and early 90s, and served as the head coach of the Columbus Blue Jackets from the 2010-2011 season until the 2011-2012 season.

Cashman, 35, was the assistant coach at Quinnipiac University, his Alma mater, for four seasons before being promoted to associate coach in his final year, and spent the last two seasons as an assistant with the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears.

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Eastern Conference

Senators’ Erik Karlsson Says Ankle is 110 Percent

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Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson is feeling pretty good about his ankle, although there is uncertainty surrounding his future in Ottawa.

Karlsson never seemed to get back on track after missing the first 5 games of last season after undergoing surgery on his ankle to repair tendons.

Karlsson now says his ankle is feeling better than it ever has.

“I think it’s better now than it was before because you work on it so much,” Karlsson said, according to The Athletic’s Chris Stevenson. “I’m very optimistic moving forward from here. It shouldn’t be an issue for me whatsoever, so that’s nice.

“110 (percent) probably,” Karlsson said. “It’s that good.”

“I’m seeing another ankle specialist in Ottawa a lot, too,” Karlsson said. “Mostly it’s just getting strength back and getting used to the feeling, which takes a bit of time now and that time is past. I’ve got my new normal again and it feels great.”

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