With Erik Karlsson questionable for today's game against the Buffalo Sabres with "general soreness", it's time to acknowledge the increased attention he's been getting the past few games. As we get closer to playoffs, it is inevitable that the excessive number of hits he's been taking will only increase. I can imagine the opposition coaches' message being something along the lines of "Hit him HARD every time!! Forget about the puck!! Finish your checks!" While Karlsson is a shifty character, there are some situations where he simply cannot avoid contact. Unfortunately, it's the kind of contact that is realistically unnecessary in a hockey play as it's a good few seconds after the puck has left his stick, but the NHL seems to fully accept it nevertheless. When playoffs come around, we can't have any players taking an extra step at Karlsson, especially if it's even a second late on the play.
This is more or less a comment but I had nowhere else to put it this morning. I want guys like Konopka, Neil, Smith and Cowen to make sure that anyone who takes an extra step at Karlsson learns a valuable lesson. Make it happen mustache man.