NEW YORK — Erik Karlsson wasn’t on the ice at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan Wednesday.
After taking some treatment, Karlsson had already left the dressing room by the time the Senators arrived back at Madison Square Garden after a 40-minute skate, but coach Paul MacLean doesn’t think the club’s top blueliner will miss his second straight game Thursday night.
As the Senators prepare to face the first place New York Rangers, Karlsson is nursing a minor bump and he’s listed as available to suit up at MSG.
“Erik should be fine, we just want to make sure (he’s okay),” said MacLean. “That’s my expectation right now that he should play.”
Karlsson, 21, the NHL’s highest-scoring defenceman with 41 points, took part in the warmup in Pittsburgh, but the decision was made just before the 5-1 victory to sit him out and dress Matt Carkner.
MacLean said the mysterious “upper-body” injury was something Karlsson suffered getting ready to play.
“It was just something in his preparation,” said MacLean when questioned further. “I’m not sure if it was playing soccer or whatever he was doing for his pre-game routine. It was during that. I didn’t ask specifically what it was.”
Carkner, who was supposed to be a healthy scratch in favour of Brian Lee, said Karlsson informed him halfway through the pre-game warmup he wasn’t going to be able to play.
“I just came to the game prepared to play, but I really didn’t think I was going to be playing,” said Carkner. “I talked to Karl on the ice and I said, ‘How are you doing?’ and he said he wasn’t sure. I had an idea then.”
Carkner joked he caused the injury because he didn’t want to sit out against the Penguins.
“I told Karlsson I’m going to play,” he said tongue-in- cheek. “It all worked out and wewon the game. I put him in the full nelson and inflicted a little injury on him so I could play. I think it worked out.”
THIS ’N’ THAT: Captain Daniel Alfredsson wasn’t on the ice, but he was just given a maintanence day. “Cripes, he’s not a young man anymore ... Travelling all over the country, practising and scoring goals,” said MacLean ... The final 36 spots on the all-star roster and the players for the 12 Youngstars (who take part in the skills competition) will be named Thursday. Expect to see LW Colin Greening, the fastest skater in Ottawa’s skills competition, named to be one of the Youngstars. D Jared Cowen has a chance as well, but there likely won’t be two players from Ottawa ... There will be no payback for Rangers F Wojtek Wolski for his Oct. 29 hit that caused Alfredsson to get a concussion. Wolski has been out with a groin injury and is on the verge of being sent to Hartford for conditioning.