October 10, 2010
Karlsson bumped to Sens' third pairing...could be bumped to Binghamton if poor play continues
By BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency
ARLINGTON, Va. — Erik Karlsson is finding out fast he can’t rest on his rookie success of last season.
In two games of poor performances throughout the Senators lineup to start this campaign, the 20-year-old blueliner’s have been among the most noticeable.
Karlsson is in a precarious position with a two-way contract. He could be sent to the minors without having to clear waivers.
“I gotta play the game that got me here. I’ve just got to be more focused and ready,” said Karlsson. “I have 80 games to play good.”
Now he might have to prove himself in a reduced role.
Coach Cory Clouston shook up his pairings Sunday and bumped Karlsson to the third duo with Brian Lee. The others were Chris Phillips-Sergei Gonchar and Matt Carkner-Chris Campoli. Clouston said they could start that way in Washington.
Sending Karlsson to Binghamton of the AHL sounds extreme. But if he continues to struggle, it’s a short trip to get his game together.
“We have to get some urgency into (Karlsson) and some other guys,” said GM Bryan Murray, who added nobody on the roster should take anything for granted. “The way we’re playing, you can’t point at one guy. We’ve got a whole group that haven’t done near what they’re capable of.”
Clouston singled out Karlsson — as well as veterans.
“He does have to be better. If you asked me on any other player I’d say the same thing ... on (Daniel) Alfredsson, on (Mike) Fisher, on Gonchar, on (Alex) Kovalev, on any of our top veteran players.
“(Karlsson) has to make better decisions and use what his skill set is, which is speed, moving the puck quick, making that first outlet pass and making a good read.”
Clouston said Karlsson is key to a Senators’ turnaround.
“He needs to understand and realize the situation that he’s in. And, understand the reason we had success the last part of the season is that he was a big part of that. It doesn’t happen automatically.
“Sometimes it takes a little while for a young guy to realize that you can’t just show up in camp and expect to get results. You have to work. Sometimes more so in the second year because you have more attention on you, whether it’s from the media, fans or opposition. He’s seeing that right now.”
Karlsson, heeding the GM’s advice, said he’s not taking anything for granted.
“Never. We’ve got some other guys who really worked for a spot on the team,” said Karlsson. “I have to prove myself this year as well. Maybe not as much as last year, but I didn’t come here and think that my spot was certain.”