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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.”

Eastern Conference

Devils’ Jesper Bratt Out 2-3 Weeks

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New Jersey Devils forward Jesper Bratt will be out 2-3 weeks with a broken jaw.

Bratt, 20, was injured Thursday when he was hit in the face by a puck that was shot from the point and deflected off the crossbar.

“It was just a freak accident after practice; he was in the corner and there was a shot that went to the net and it hit the crossbar and inadvertently hit him,” Devils head coach John Hynes said (h/t NHL.com). “He has a fracture and no surgery is needed, so that’s good news. He should be able to continue his physical activity over the course of that time and he’ll be back ready to go when that time comes.”

“It stinks because he’s had a great training camp,” Devils forward Travis Zajac said. “He was playing better than how he started last year, but he’ll get a chance to come back even stronger. It’s one of those things as a young guy you just have to take in stride, not let it bother you, and just make sure you’re prepared to contribute when you do come back.”

“I met up with him right away after practice Thursday, and you feel so bad for him,” New Jersey forward Marcus Johansson stated. “This is once-in-a-lifetime thing to play an NHL game in Sweden and having family and friends here. He was playing really well, too, and working hard all summer.

“It’s not a fun situation and he’s not happy right now, but he’s a young kid and he has a lot of hockey ahead of him so you don’t want to risk anything by coming back too soon.”

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Eastern Conference

Panthers’ Derek MacKenzie Retiring at End of Season

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Florida Panthers forward Derek MacKenzi will be calling it a career at the end of the 2018-2019 season, according to The Athletic’s George Richards.

MacKenzie, 37, is entering his 18th season and 5th with Florida and stated that he would like to stay involved with the organization when his retirement becomes official.

 

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Eastern Conference

Islanders Name Anders Lee Captain

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The New York Islanders have officially named Anders Lee team captain, who will don the “C” after the departure of former team captain John Tavares during free agency, per an official team announcement.

Lee, 28, is coming off a career year which saw him collect 40 goals.

Josh Bailey, Cal Clutterbuck, and Andrew Ladd will serve as the team’s alternate captains.

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