It's a sprint to the finish. Condensed schedule. Playing on no rest. Every game counts.
We've heard all of the cliches, rolled out for us by each an every pundit. While I'm a little sick of hearing about the scheduling that has resulted from the lockout, you can certainly see that fatigue is playing its part around the league. Games are sloppier, and on certain nights, teams just look bagged. Injuries are up around the league, and you gotta wonder how all of this will affect teams by the time we get to the playoffs.
With that in mind, I hereby want to be the guy that says: I'm worried about Erik Karlsson. Yes, he's the best player on our team. Yes, with Jason Spezza out, he's our best (and only) offensive playmaker/difference maker. Yes, even when he plays crazy minutes and has absurdly long shifts and gets tired, he's still the best player on the ice. But you cannot tell me he looks as good as he can look. You can't tell me he doesn't look tired. You cannot tell me he is isn't missing that burst we are so used to seeing. Because he is.
Aside from that, while his cardio is obviously off the charts and despite the fact that he's a small player injuries have not found him in his young career, him playing as much as he is brings significant risk. With Jason Spezza already out, losing Karlsson might mean the Senators never score another goal.
He played 32:08 yesterday, and hasn't played a game under 27 minutes in the last five.
How much is too much?
- Recaps of yesterday's referee debacle. Love the Habs blog brushing it off, but as some of their rational commenters point out, if the shoe was on the other foot, Canadiens fans would have lost it. [SSS] [SE] [Habs]
- Zack Smith comes in at #11 on our countdown of the Senators best players under 25. [SSS]
- Ups and Downs, week three. Always a must read. [SSS]
- The Senators have called up centre Stephane Da Costa who has had a great year in Binghamton so far. Look to see him get a shot at the second line centre spot. [Province] And here he is at #12 on our countdown. [SSS]
- Scott at the 6th Sens sums up my feelings about yesterday. [6thSens]
- Just one today. Another really well written WWL from Lambert. Credit where credit is due. [PD]