Connect with us

San Jose Sharks

More Than the Norris: Karlsson Talks Lindsay Nom, Victoria Prize



Credit: San Jose Sharks

NASHVILLE — Erik Karlsson wasn’t talking just about winning the Norris Trophy last night.

The San Jose Sharks defenseman been expected to win it for months, so I asked him about being nominated for the peer-voted Ted Lindsay Award – he lost out to Connor McDavid – and winning the Victoria Prize, given by Princess Victoria of Sweden, to the year’s top Swedish athlete.

Of course, he had plenty to say about winning the Norris.

Karlsson had a comeback campaign for the ages, scoring 101 points, the first defenseman since Brian Leetch in 1991-92 to eclipse the century mark. It felt like this season came out of nowhere, especially considering that three of Karlsson’s previous four years were cut short by injury.

Out of nowhere to everybody except Karlsson.

“In my own eyes, this is where I belong. This is where I should be every single year, even though that’s pretty hard to do and hasn’t happened, obviously. But I always believed in myself,” he told reporters after beating out Cale Makar and Adam Fox for the honor. “Being healthy for a longer period of time has really given me a perspective on how important it is to take care of your body and yourself. Obviously, there’s certain things you can’t control. Right now, the most important thing is to stay healthy.”

Speaking of 24-year-old Makar and 25-year-old Fox, who won the 2022 and 2021 Norris Trophies, respectively, the 33-year-old Karlsson was gracious in victory.

“Since you came into the league, you’ve been pushing me to stay young,” Karlsson said to Makar and Fox in his acceptance speech. “You’re both very inspirational players.”

Age was also on Karlsson’s mind when asked to compare this Norris Trophy with his first two, in 2012 and 2015, when he was with the Ottawa Senators.

“Different,” he said. “I’m a lot older now. I have two small kids. I’ve gone through a lot in my life that I didn’t have when I first won when I was 21. It means a lot, that I can grasp everything around it and appreciate things that come with it a little bit differently than maybe I did when I was 21 and whatever the other one was, 23, or something like that.”

He added, a little wistfully, “It’s a long time ago.”

Karlsson was also effusive in his praise of the San Jose Sharks organization, emphasizing how head coach David Quinn and his teammates stayed together and tight, despite their fourth-worst in the NHL finish.

“To San Jose, the entire organization from Mr. Plattner, down to Mike Grier, the coaching staff, you’re doing a fantastic job there. You rejuvenated a guy like me,” Karlsson said. “To my teammates, that showed up every day, during tough circumstances and not winning as many games as we would have liked, you made it enjoyable everyday to come to the rink and work hard and have a chance to play the game that we still love.”

And of course, Karlsson thanked his wife Melinda, who takes care of their two children in season.

“I could never do this at this stage in my life if it wasn’t for you, and the responsibilities that you take on. I only see you for about four or five months in the summer, when I’m around,” he closed in his acceptance speech. “So thank you for making me a better man everyday.”

As for the Lindsay?

“I voted for Connor, expecting him to win. I think that he is, in my generation, probably the best player that I’ve seen,” Karlsson said of the winner McDavid. “But just to be in the mentioning for me, means a lot. I take a lot of pride and respect in what I do. To have the guys you compete against on a daily basis, to put your name that high, for me, the stage I’m in, in my career right now, means a lot.”

SJHN Daily: Erik Karlsson Wins Victoria Prize

And Karlsson’s victory tour isn’t over yet. Next month, the San Jose Sharks superstar – for now – is headed back to Sweden to accept the Victoria Prize, just the sixth hockey player to accept the annual award since its inception in 1979.

“That’s obviously another thing that means a lot to me, especially being in Sweden, I don’t get to spend as much time there as I would like any more,” he said.

And it might mean more to his father Jonas, who hasn’t met the royal family before.

What’s more meaningful to Karlsson, the Norris or a national honor like the Victoria?

“If you ask my dad, it’s the Victoria Prize,” Karlsson laughed. “I’ve met [the royal family] a few times. So I might be a little bit more comfortable than him around them. But he is very much looking forward to that.”

Welcome to your new home for San Jose Sharks breaking news, analysis and opinion. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to SJHN+ for all of our members-only content from Sheng Peng and the National Hockey Now network plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Sheng’s Travel Fund

Help fund Sheng's travel! Every dollar goes to the cost of getting to and from Sharks road games.

Click here to contribute to Sheng's travel pool!

Get SJHN in your inbox!

Enter your email address to get all of our articles delivered directly to your inbox.

Hockey Shots

Extra Hour Hockey Training

Cathy’s Power Skating

Sharks Team & Cap Info

SJHN on Facebook