The last six months have been hectic for Sharks star Erik Karlsson.
It's not just the uphill hockey season, and thumb surgery, and the suspension of all sports in general. But it's also becoming a dad, and getting really good at … diapers.
“I can’t say that I’m a pro at it,” Karlsson joked. “Although I do change the diapers at night in the complete dark, and that can be a little tricky at times.”
Erik missed the first Sharks game of the season to be with his wife, Melinda, for the birth of their daughter, Harlow Rain. Now that hockey sits idle, the defenseman is substituting line changes with teammates for diaper changes with his daughter.
“I’m a little bit more of a risk-taker,” Karlsson said about his strategy. “I do believe if the diaper is full and she’s done, then she’s done.”
He also reaffirmed what every parent quickly learns: "No. 1s" are much easier to handle than "No. 2s."
“It depends what type of No. 2, too,” Karlsson said. “Some are easier than others.”
Fatherhood of six months already has made Karlsson realize he’s changed.
“My patience, especially is a lot better, and the uncertainty of things,” Karlsson shared. “Not being able to plan as much ahead as you could before.”
Fortunately, Karlsson's left thumb has recovered well since the injury and required surgery in mid-February. Meaning he’s not limited in dad duties this summer.
“That’s been great. It was one of the things I didn’t really worry about to begin with, and I’m definitely not worried about it right now,” Karlsson explained. “If the season would have been on, I probably could have played a couple weeks ago.”
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This means the Norris Trophy winner should have no problem defending 2-on-1s next season, just like he’s defending “twos” and “ones” this summer.
“At first, it made you gag sometimes," Karlsson said, "and now it doesn’t even faze me really.”