I think it’s fair of me to say that the legacy Erik Karlsson has left behind in the city of Ottawa is not something that can be easily forgotten or ignored. The 9 years he spent here has changed the Ottawa Senators’ organization drastically and has built up a fanbase so loyal to him as a player and a person. His return to the city that he got drafted in took place this afternoon and the imprints he left on the citizens here has been revealed once more since the trade this summer.
The matinee game at the Canadian Tire Centre started the way it always does, with warmups. This time though, the special feature was on the one and only Erik Karlsson. Joe Thornton (Bless that man and his trimmed beard) stopped the Sharks players from going out onto the ice after Karlsson did, letting him take a solo lap and allowing the fans to take in their former captain in a jersey other than the usual red one they were used to.
The return video that followed warmups was something that left the crowd both cheering for the greatness Karlsson held in Ottawa but also remorseful for the incapacity to continue his legacy in the capital city. The video was a mixture of melancholy flashbacks to young Karl getting drafted and a hype video of sorts, with highlights of a few of the amazing goals he scored as a Sens player. After it was finished, the camera panned to another person that fans of the Sens recognized and respected in a whole other sense. Melinda Karlsson. Her giving presence in this city was also something that Ottawa had lost alongside the trade. Her wave and her husband’s wave with his familiar smile was something that placated the fans and Karl’s quick circle on the ice with his stick raised lead to puck drop.
During the first period Karlsson lead his Sharks team with shots on goal. The Sharks and Sens left the first period still tied at 0-0, but the actions of Karlsson continued to prove his lighthearted nature towards his former team. He playfully snowed our goalie Craig Anderson and they both had a laugh over it. He also kept going over to the Sens’ bench during stoppage of play, chatting with players and staff.
Despite the Sharks ending the game with a 6-2 loss to the Senators, King Karl still left the game with 9 shots on goal, a high for him this season. In his post game interview, he admitted his fears of letting this game get to him too early, but he remained proud of how he kept himself under control. He also said he was proud of his performance in the game today, which is something that I bet many watching the game can echo. Karlsson stopped many potential goals, with a highlight being him chasing down Dzingel who had a clear breakaway.
Karlsson also stated in the interview his appreciation for the fans of the Senators and their support throughout everything. He disclosed that he and his former teammates had still kept in touch through the trade and that he and a few others were to meet up after the interview was over. All I wished for in his trade was that Karlsson would sustain his ability to create plays, open scoring chances, and keep his luscious locks flowing. He made it clear today that he was capable of doing it all. Despite his slow start to the season, his power to rule the game is still there. And to round it all out, from the bottom of my heart, I wish my forever captain the best of luck with his new team. The Sens fans will never forget the impact he made on the hearts of everyone in this city and all we long for is that he doesn’t forget about the appreciation we hold for the hope he gave us while leading our team to the place we are today.