OTTAWA - Erik Karlsson sees a light at the end of the tunnel.
Karlsson, who saw his season with the Ottawa Senators come to an end Feb. 13 after having his Achilles tendon cut by Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke, spoke on Monday during the first intermission of the Senators game against the New Jersey Devils.
"It's going well," said Karlsson of his recovery. "Baby steps, but overall it's been feeling pretty good ever since it happened and I can feel it's going forward.
"I think I'm on schedule. Every day is different and we are where we are right now and there's been no real setbacks or anything like that so it's going forward all the time. It's just going to take a lot of time and a lot of patience to get 100 per cent again."
Karlsson appears to be walking comfortably and is able to wear his own shoes, but isn't ready to resume skating.
"As of right now it's going to be a while. Anything can happen and anything can change, but as of right now we're not aiming for a certain date or anything," said Karlsson. "We're just trying to make it feel better and get everything back to normal."
There have been rumours that should the Senators go on a long playoff run Karlsson would be able to return, and while he would love nothing more than to rejoin the team, that seems unlikely.
"Obviously the guys have been playing great and obviously that helps my motivation as well and keeps me going forward and looking forward to going into the playoffs and if that time comes it will be a decision by them, but right now we don't really aim for playing this year," said Karlsson.
The 22-year-old admits life has been a little different with little other than his rehabilitation to focus on.
"It's been five weeks already," said Karlsson. "It obviously helps that we're playing well and we play almost every night so there's always something to watch and look forward to. It's a different kind of life, but so far it's been treating me well."
Jason Spezza was already sidelined after back surgery when Karlsson got injured, severely limiting the Senators chances of making the playoffs. Still, Ottawa has remained competitive despite the absence of its No. 1 centre and top defenceman.
Karlsson gave much of the credit to veterans Sergei Gonchar and Chris Phillips, who took on a greater role in his absence.
"They're great guys, they're veteran guys," said Karlsson. "They've been around so they know what they need to do when something happens and they've probably been through this situation before and I think they've done a great job helping everybody else realizing that it's time to start stepping up and I think they've done a great job leading the way and contributing they way they have."
Karlsson also announced that he and his wife Therese will become spokespeople for the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa.
"Ever since we knew we were going to be here for a long time we knew we wanted to do something," said Karlsson. "My wife's been involved with the club before and she said it's a great organization and the things they do so it was an easy choice for us."