Karlsson plays waiting game

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:00 PM ET

Erik Karlsson’s stay in the press box could last a little longer.

The Senators’ prized prospect watched Monday’s win over Los Angeles as a healthy scratch and, while speaking of what an important player Karlsson is for the Senators the following day, coach Cory Clouston indicated he might not be ready to make a change to his lineup just yet.

“We’ll wait until (Wednesday) to discuss that,” Clouston said when asked if Karlsson would be playing against Dallas.

“We liked what we saw from the guys in the lineup. They battled hard, they competed hard. If and when Erik goes back in, whether it’s (Wednesday) or not, he just has to focus on what he does well.”

Karlsson didn’t think time as an observer would help him right his game and said so upon learning he’d be benched for the Kings game. But that didn’t bother Clouston.

“Obviously, he’s a little frustrated, and that’s fine,” said Clouston.

“He can make those comments. Basically it’s about winning games. And it’s about executing, and going out and playing well. That’s all we need him to do when he goes back. However way he approaches it. He had a good practice (Tuesday). Next time he gets into the lineup, he’s got to play well. When he does, we win games.”

Karlsson sang a slightly different tune Tuesday.

“As long as the team wins, I’m happy,” he said. “Whenever there’s the chance to come back, you’ve got to be ready and take it. I’m 20 years old. I’m in no rush. I trust that the guys above me know what they’re doing. They’ve been right before, so they’re probably not wrong this time.”

Quick draw McGraw

Jason Spezza continues to climb up the faceoff-leader standings. He was ranked as the 11th-best drawman in the league with a 57.3% success rate after a good night against Los Angeles in which he went 16-4 in the circles. Spezza, who is also killing penalties and helping protect leads, sees faceoff success as another way of becoming a more complete player. “I had one of those nights where I felt pretty good in the faceoff circle,” he said. “I was pretty prepared. Jarret Stoll is a guy I’ve watched and tried to learn faceoffs from. He’s real good from the right-hand side. (Anze) Kopitar put a good licking on me in L.A. last time we were there, so I was pretty ready for them this time. There’s a lot of draws that are 50-50s that you rely on your wingers to help you with. We’re practising as a team.”

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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