I'm embarrassed. I might even go as far as saying I am ashamed. I consider myself a hockey fan, and if you had asked me to quickly explain Erik Karlsson's play prior to the playoffs I would have more than likely told you he's an elite offensive defenseman. What this series is teaching those - like myself - that haven't watched nearly enough Senators' hockey is how much of a massive disservice that would be to what he brings to the table. He may not be out there delivering Scott Stevens-esque body checks or put opposing offenses to sleep in his own zone a la Nicklas Lidstrom, but - if these numbers are any indication - he's had a very similar impact on the game...
Honestly, those stats somehow make less sense than the game winning slap pass that had so little margin for error that Bobby Ryan had to suspend disbelief just to cradle it on his backhand and slide it into the open side of the net. They left as much slack in my jaw as the 10 foot saucer that reached the eye-level of those sitting in the 8th row only to float perfectly down on to the tape of Mike Hoffman on a breakaway. Those are not only the splits of someone that was born the day before the bantam deadline and went through puberty before every single one of his peers. They are the differentials of someone that is flat out controlling postseason hockey games from the backend, and the backend isn't even where he makes his presence the most felt.
So yeah, I probably deserve more than a couple slaps on the wrist for merely considering Erik Karlsson to be a great player as a opposed to the dominant force he's been thus far. He's fit a season's worth of highlights into what has been - to this point - a 4 game series, and the sickening part is that he hasn't even scored a goal yet. He may not be your prototypical defenseman that is going to allow his bench to take deep breathes while the puck is circling behind their net, but - statistically speaking - far more often not he'll make sure the puck isn't remotely close to their net. Even if it requires him to throw a picture perfect Hail Mary pass from his own goal line in which the closest defender ended up being the JumboTron....