Here’s a silver lining for Senators fans looking up the Eastern Conference standings as Ottawa’s drive to the playoffs begins in earnest Thursday.

About the same time as Canadian gold medal goaltending hero Carey Price was setting off alarm bells by aggravating an injury in Montreal late Wednesday morning, silver medal-winning Swedish defenceman Erik Karlsson was generating optimism in Ottawa, jumping back on the ice a day ahead of schedule.

Karlsson insists that post-Games fatigue won’t be a problem as the Senators get back in action Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings at Canadian Tire Centre.

“It’s not something that’s going to be an issue,” said Karlsson, who practised alongside new/old defence partner Marc Methot Wednesday. “It was fine getting there (to Russia) and it’s always easier coming back.”

Karlsson also says he has turned the page from the disappointment of the Olympic final — more on that later — and is anxious to play in front of his home crowd again.

“Every time you go away, as nice as it is, it’s always nice to come home as well,” he said. “I’m excited to be here and see all the guys and hear about their trips to the sun (during the Olympic break), and I’m looking forward to playing hockey here again. It feels like the vibe is good in the room and we’re looking forward to the last stretch here.”

Karlsson was named the top defenceman at the Olympics and tied with Toronto’s Phil Kessel for the tournament scoring lead. For those who need reminding, he went into the Olympic break on a three-game point scoring streak, and had five goals and seven assists in the Senators’ final 12 games before leaving for Russia. As a team, the Senators were on a 11-4-4 run before the break.

The initial bitterness of Sweden losing 3-0 to Canada in the Olympic final has faded somewhat.

Immediately after the game, upset at losing the gold, Karlsson told reporters that he might sell his silver medal on eBay, earning himself some criticism in the process.
A few days removed from it all, Karlsson readily accepts that Canada was the better team when it mattered most.