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Erik Karlsson returns to Ottawa to face his former teammates



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Erik Karlsson entered the well-known territory on Friday afternoon and smiled broadly.

"Time is close," he laughed.

On Saturday, a man, who was the head of the Ottawa senator ship at four seasons, will return to the Canadian Tire Center. This is his first visit since he was in San Jose Sharks in September.

When they lost 5-3 losses on Toronto Maple leaves on Wednesday evening on the road, Karlsson and sharks came straight after the race, they had a day on Thursday and were on ice Friday in the Minto Sports Complex at the University of Ottawa.

San Jose Shark Erik Karlsson managed to cross over dozens of enthusiasts who turned to the Ottawa College of Athletics to watch him practice before his first against his old team, Ottawa senators, at the Canadian Tire Center on Saturday. He pulled the hood of his jacket over his head as he drove off the bus.

Wayne Cuddington /

Postmedia

"We arrived yesterday. It seems normal to me," said Karlsson. "I was just home. Today, we played. If you were chewing on CTC, it would be a little different.

"I feel quite calm, a little worrying, and apparently I feel a little different. I slept at home, that it was nice."

Karlsson was, of course, one of the last players to step into ice at 2: 3, and other shark players have pulled out their batons to greet their old home.

Karlsson met with a vast array of local media to discuss how he would face his former teammates. With the fan senator he will be greeted with noisy ovations, which is expected to be sold out.

San Jose Shark Erik Karlsson was training at the Ottawa Athletic University on Saturday at the Canadian Tire Center, in front of his first team against his old team, the Senators of Ottawa.

Wayne Cuddington /

Postmedia

"We all knew that this time came and I would be here," said Karlsson. "It will be nice to be here, and we will do it. After that, I think he will calm down, because we will not return for at least another year.

"Now I will just enjoy this moment, whether this is a closure or not, I'm not sure."

When asked if he ever regretted it, Karlsson quickly said: "Never, I was very good here. I came in as a young boy and spent my entire adult life here. I created everything I have for myself to be here and that I am here around people.

"I liked it, I felt so much. If I look back I do not think I would change anything. They made me who I am today, and I am grateful for that."

This will be much like Daniel Alfredsson returning to Ottawa in 2013 with Detroit Red Wings and Karlsson remembers that they spent the day together. When he finished with the media, he moved with his family to Alfredsson's Rockcliffe apartment.

"I was here when he returned. This is a different situation, because he was here a lot longer and in the second phase of his career," said Karlsson. "She helped. I saw him a little from his perspective and how he dealt with things. She may have helped me.

"I was young then, I do not remember half of this. It was a special moment for him and I remember him, and now I will see him return the favor."

When the decision was made that Karlsson decided in September, the organization had determined before the seasonal trading period began to be renewed. On July 1, he was offered an eight-year contract worth $ 88 million, and senators received little or no response from their camp.

San Jose Shark Erik Karlsson trained at the Ottawa Athletic University before his first match against his old team, Ottawa senators, at the Canadian Tire Center on Saturday. Photo: Wayne Cuddington / Postmedia

Wayne Cuddington /

Postmedia

Many believe that Karlsson wanted a new beginning.

"I have nothing to compare, so it's hard to say. It was as good as I could have," said Karlsson. "We have a great team, everyone felt good and tried to make it so easy for me.

"At the same time, I tried to stay focused on the hockey part. As far as travel and lifestyle are concerned, everything is very different and eventually will make it easier and easier. I am happy with the next chapter in my life and the experiences I will get from it. "

Karlsson's move in September was not an easy decision for the organization, but the club came to the conclusion that it's time to continue if it does not intend to sign here.

Karlsson's change of venues was not easy. He was afraid in consistency in the first 15 matches in the San Jose uniform and those who watch the team, they say precisely that his game has recently come. It moves against its all-star form.

San Jose Shark Erik Karlsson (R), who met Barclay Goodroo on Saturday, practiced at the Ottawa Athletic Faculty on Saturday at the Canadian Tire Center, before his first match against his old team, the Senators of Ottawa.

Wayne Cuddington /

Postmedia

Alternate captain Mark Stone believes that Karlsson will not be an easy day.

"Erik was finally the best if not one of the best that ever played here," Stone said after the club's rink. "For him, there will be a rather emotional and quite emotional guy who plays with him for five years, as you quickly prove yourself.

"It will be different for him. I think everyone is thrilled to come (to the game), but they are enthusiastic about stopping it."

Yes, Saturday will go to flash.

"In the end, there are two players and no more in our team," Stone said. "For (Karlsson), it will be much different than it will be for us."

Karlsson said he was not sure how he would respond to the crowd.

"It's one of those things I know has come and I know it's there and what will happen at this time," said Karlsson. "I will try to enjoy. There I only had some nice memories and I am looking forward to creating more.

"Tomorrow afternoon will be another of these great memories."

bgarrioch@postmedia.com

Twitter: @Sungarrioch

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