TAMPA, Fla. | Upon seeing Erik Karlsson suffer a torn left Achilles tendon from a skate blade Wednesday night, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom wondered about his own safety. Backstrom wears the same kind of basic, light socks on the ice as the Ottawa Senators defenseman.
But that might change as Backstrom considers Kevlar-reinforced socks.
“Right now, yeah,” Backstrom said. “After you see this situation and see you can be out for [three-to-four months], he needs surgery and stuff. You’ve got to be aware those kind of things can happen to you. …
“I don’t know, maybe I’ll try it.”
Karlsson suffered what Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray described as a 70 percent tear of the left Achilles tendon. Last year’s Norris Trophy winner is “effectively” done for the season.
The injury happened late in the second period at the Pittsburgh Penguins, when Karlsson went into the corner after the puck. Penguins forward Matt Cooke followed him and lifted his left skate up and made contact with the back of Karlsson’s left leg.
Karlsson crumpled to the ice in pain and could not put any pressure on his left foot.
“Obviously it’s unfortunate, I think, and nothing you want to see out there,” said Backstrom, who knows Karlsson. “But obviously it happened and I feel sorry for him, I feel bad for him.”
Caps forward Matt Hendricks suffered a cut on his right foot from a goalie’s skate during his sophomore season at St. Cloud State.
“I think the scariest part was I’m looking down at my skate and I don’t see anything wrong,” Hendricks said. “And I feel a lot of pain from it but you can’t see it. It’s not like when you get cut on the face where you can immediately tell that there’s a problem.”
Hendricks and St. Cloud State were playing Alaska-Anchorage at home when Hendricks tried to kick the puck while the opposing goaltender was seated with his legs spread out.
“I must’ve caught his heel with my own foot,” Hendricks said. “Dumb luck. And I went to the bench, I was in pain, tried to go [out for] the next shift, realized there’s something wrong, took my skate off on the bench and for the first time I saw that I was bleeding pretty bad.”
Cooke did not receive any kind of supplemental discipline from the NHL, which is nothing of a surprise. Murray cited Cooke’s “history,” but the widespread opinion was that it was an accident. Caps coach Adam Oates said it was “kind of fluky.”
“I don’t know how that could ever be intentional,” Hendricks said. “For something to happen that quick, that fast, he wouldn’t be able to come up with that idea, for sure.”
Since his cut, Hendricks began wearing his shin pads over his skates. He never considered Kevlar-reinforced socks.
At least three Caps players wear them: Alex Ovechkin, Eric Fehr and Jay Beagle.
“It used to be something I never really thought about, but the last couple years there’s been a lot of injuries involving skates,” Fehr said. “Definitely one of the scarier injuries so it’s better to protect yourself, I think, if you can.”
Fehr suffered a cut behind his knee (above where the sock protection was), something at required stitches.
“You move those over a couple of inches and it can cut some pretty big arteries,” he said. “It’s pretty scary obviously, but I do what I can to protect myself, when I’m on the ice you can’t think about it.”
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