The unfortunate tale of Andreas Karlsson
Stop me if you've heard this one before: talented player gets in coach John Tortorella's dog house, fights his way back and then ... gets in it again. Lightning left wing Andreas Karlsson is living that nightmare right now. Out since Oct. 1 with a strained abdominal muscle, the coach clearly has lost patience. Tortorella did not say that directly, but comments about Karlsson still being "in the tub'' and his praise for Mathieu Darche, who has been good, certainly, but not great, are telling.
Some background: Karlsson, one of Sweden's top scorers when he was signed before the 2006-07 season, missed five games with a groin strain at the beginning of last season and spent the rest of the year convincing Tortorella he wasn't soft. It finally paid off during the playoffs when Karlsson shined playing on Brad Richards' line. Karlsson then upped the grit factor in this season's training camp and won praise from the coach and a spot on Chris Gratton's third line. But three days before the season opener, Karlsson was hurt in camp. He came back for one practice but was back "in the tub'' again.
Assume if he stays with the team and is not shipped to the minors, Karlsson is going to have another uphill battle to regain Tortorella's favor, especially if Darche keeps improving and playing with the energy he has shown. It's too bad, too. Killer, as the mild-mannered Karlsson is called (in one of the greatest 180-degree nicknames of all time), is perhaps the nicest guy on the team. Polite, respectful, he takes time to think before he speaks which is why you haven't heard a word out of him about his injury; remember Tortorella's ban on players discussing injuries with reporters.
Karlsson be a positive force on this team ... if he ever gets back on the ice.