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Erik Karlsson’s gruesome injury a scary reminder for Hawks

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Updated: March 17, 2013 6:46PM

Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson’s season-ending injury — his left Achilles tendon was cut by the skate blade of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke as the two fought for a puck along the boards Wednesday — was a scary reminder of how dangerous hockey can be.

“It’s surprising it doesn’t happen more often,” Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane said.

Karlsson, last year’s Norris Trophy winner as the NHL’s top defenseman, will require surgery. Kevlar socks could potentially minimize the damage caused by such a play, but center Dave Bolland is believed to be the only Hawk who wears them.

“Maybe [it would help],” Kane said. “But you saw the force on that. I don’t care what you wear, unless it’s a thick boot that’s going to protect you, it seems like it would have gone through. But who knows? It’s something you could try.”

Kane said equipment manufacturer Bauer has offered such protective gear for his wrists and legs, but he found them too bulky.

It’s not an isolated incident — Mike Modano, Dion Phaneuf and Jordan Staal are among the stars who’ve missed time with skate cuts in recent seasons.

Kane’s not sure such injuries can realistically be prevented in the future.

“Sometimes the game gets so fast, guys are so strong, and the force on whatever it is, the Achilles, can destroy it,” he said. “I don’t know; it’s one of those things. It happens once or twice a year, and you’re surprised it doesn’t happen more often because of the area that’s open there and the way the game is, how fast it is. It’s tough to really say.”


Winger Jamal Mayers and defenseman Sheldon Brookbank were back in the lineup Friday, replacing Brandon Bollig and Michal Rozsival, respectively.

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