Breaking: Sens leaders absent from mandatory gameday skate

Just a precaution or cause for concern?

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Another day, another Erik Karlsson injury update. The Ottawa Senators superstar captain missed his team’s gameday skate in advance of tonight’s deciding game of the Eastern Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Joining him in his absence were fellow defenseman Cody Ceci and veteran forward Alex Burrows.

It’s still expected that Karlsson will suit up for the Sens tonight, but it’s not known yet whether or not Ceci and Burrows will be ready to go. One can presume that Karlsson and his compatriots took the morning off to rest and focus for tonight’s game. If history is any indication, the Senators will lean heavily on the 26 year-old Swedish blue liner, forcing him to play top minutes and shut down fellow superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Tonight’s matchup represents the biggest game the Senators have played in over a decade and certainly the biggest NHL game of Karlsson’s career. Whatever the result, it’s hard to criticize the smooth-skating defender and his 16 points in 18 games this postseason.