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Karlsson Talks Fatherhood (Again), Impending Return, Hertl



Credit: AP Photo/Tony Avelar

Erik Karlsson’s forearm surgery came with one silver lining.

On Feb. 2, about a week after surgery, Erik and Melinda Karlsson’s second child, Stellan Axel Karlsson, was born.

Instead of skating with the San Jose Sharks, Karlsson has been able to spend the first three weeks of Stellan’s life at home.

“It was pretty good timing on that part. The wife is appreciative, that’s for sure,” Karlsson quipped, in his first media availability in over a month. “He wakes up every three hours or so. But it’s not been too bad. He’s been a good kid actually, compared to our first one.”

That’s not to say that Karlsson isn’t chomping on the bit to get back on the ice. In fact, there’s every indication that he’s going to beat the original prognosis of a mid-March re-evaluation of his left forearm.

Karlsson revealed that he’s actually been dealing with the injury since September: “I’ve dealt with it for pretty much all season, but it’s been fairly manageable. The last month, it didn’t do really well and didn’t feel really good.”

But Karlsson is feeling good now: He’s taken part in optional practices in two of the last three days at Sharks Ice. He was handling and passing the puck, though it doesn’t appear that he’s shooting the puck yet.

“It’s a fairly open timeline. It won’t be before a certain time, and anything after that, we’ll see,” Karlsson said. “It feels good right now. It doesn’t feel good enough to play in an NHL game. But I can practice probably soonish…then we’ll just see where I’m at.

“It’s just a matter of time to give it enough time to do the proper healing and get the strength back. Once that happens, I’ll be good to go, because physically, I’m fine. Shouldn’t be any problem stepping right in.”

Karlsson says that he doesn’t have a return date in mind, but San Jose Sharks head coach Bob Boughner suggested yesterday that his star defenseman could be back in two weeks.

The San Jose Sharks could sure use Erik Karlsson: He’s scored 26 points in just 33 games this season, and still leads the team’s blueline with eight goals.

“It’s frustrating to not be able to play a full 82 games,” Karlsson, who’s missed 18 games and counting this year because of COVID, an oblique strain, and now, this forearm injury, said. “I feel like I’m heading towards where I need to be in terms of a standard of play.”

But will the Sharks — seven points out of the last playoff spot right now — still be close enough to the post-season for that standard of play to matter?

And will star center Tomas Hertl still be on the San Jose Sharks when Erik Karlsson gets back? The Trade Deadline is Mar. 21.

“I don’t think that anything is set in stone one way or another, but we’ll see how it plays out,” Karlsson offered. “He’s got to do what’s best for him, what he thinks is best for his career moving forward. And the team’s got to do the same…I’m sure we would like to keep him.

“It’s not something that’s really affected him or the situation in the room. It’s not something that’s very talked amongst guys.”

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