VANCOUVER - Kevin Bieksa watched it, several times, and it did not bring back great memories.
Bieksa knows better than most what Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson will be going through for the next several months after his Achilles tendon was torn when he was cut by the skate of Pittsburgh winger Matt Cooke on Wednesday night.
"I didn't see it live, but I heard about it and watched it over and over," Bieksa said Thursday. "It was the same, but it was different in some respects. It looked like he was in a lot of pain. I just remember when mine happened it was cut so clean that I didn't really feel it. The only thing I knew was when I went to stand up I had no function in my foot because the tendon was severed. He looked like he was in a lot of pain."
Bieksa suffered a similar injury back in November of 2007 when his Achilles was nearly completely severed by the skate of Nashville forward Vern Fiddler. Reports from Ottawa have suggested that Karlsson's Achilles was 70 per cent severed.
"Mine was 90 (per cent) so maybe that will cause him the extra pain because it wasn't all the way through, it wasn't clean," Bieksa said.
The Canuck defenceman said it took him a full year before he felt completely comfortable again.
"The timeline is four to six months," he said. "I still remember to the day, I came back in three months and 22 days, and when I first got back I was second-guessing myself. I didn't feel comfortable on the ice or in my skates. It took a good year to feel 100 per cent. Luckily, he is not going to be rushed back because he is going to be taking the summer to rehab, but it's a tough injury."
Bieksa began wearing the special Kevlar socks as protection when he returned and thinks all players should.
"I don't know why they wouldn't," Bieksa said. "I have been using mine for five years."
The Canucks training staff had the Kevlars laid out for the players on Thursday and winger Aaron Volpatti was among those who wore them for the first time in Thursday's practice.
Centre Ryan Kesler has also worn the protective socks for quite some time.
"I think everyone should wear them," he said.
None of the Canucks asked Thursday thought Cooke was trying to intentionally cut Karlsson with his skate.
"It's just a flukey, freaky accident," Bieksa said.
SCHNEIDER STARTS: There was so much news Thursday that Canucks coach Alain Vigneault was not even asked to explain his goaltending decision for Friday night's home game against the Dallas Stars.
Cory Schneider gets the start and said Thursday he has not tried to figure out how Vigneault is making his goaltending decisions.
"I don't think there's much to figure out," Schneider said. "We are going to be pretty busy here coming up for the next six weeks. We have had a bit of a lull in the schedule here so I think as it picks up I don't know if there is going to be a lot of rhyme or reason, it's just going to be playing a guy who is playing well and just kind of sharing the load so if the team is tired at least the guy in net will be fresh and can maybe make the difference."
SING IT LOUD: Schneider backed up Roberto Luongo in Tuesday night's 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild and as he sat on the bench Schneider thought maybe he was back playing in the Swiss League.
Schneider said the chanting by a group of Southsiders, the boisterous Vancouver Whitecaps supporters who attended Tuesday's game, reminded him of his stint playing for Ambri-Piotta in the Swiss League during the recent NHL lockout.
"Our fans (in Switzerland) stood the entire time and didn't stop chanting the entire game," Schneider said. "I'm not sure where they got the energy, maybe it was liquid energy, but it was pretty fun to play in front of."
Schneider has no problem with Canuck fans doing some of their own chanting during games.
"We are for that, I think the guys like that stuff," he said. "Hopefully, a few more people get into it and make it a little more noticeable, but you can definitely hear it."
"I think it's great," Luongo said. "The louder a building is, the better the atmosphere, the better it is for the players as well."
© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun