Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson was in positive spirits Friday morning, vowing that “I will be back.”

Speaking publicly for the first time since having Achilles tendon surgery after having the back of his leg cut by Pittsburgh Penguins agitator Matt Cooke Feb. 13, Karlsson insisted that it will do him no good to dwell on the negatives.

“I can’t get my head down because of this thing,” he said. “It’s just going to make me feel worse. I’ve got to try and stay positive. Every time, I’m around the locker room, I’m going to be a happy guy.”

Karlsson, 22, recognizes that it’s highly unlikely that he will be able to return before the 2013-14 season – the regular recovery time from Achilles surgery is six to eight months – but he suggested that he will “never say never” to the possibility of being back should the Senators go on an extended playoff run.

As for the hit itself, Karlsson believes it was entirely preventable. While he doesn’t believe that Cooke meant to slice his leg, he does think Cooke was trying to do some damage – one way or another.

“He missed the hit, but still got me somehow,” Karlsson said. “I don’t think it would have happened if it was a different kind of player.”

Karlsson doesn’t understand why Cooke needed to lift his leg on the play which led to the skate coming down on the back of his leg.

He also wasn’t impressed by Cooke’s attempt to reach out to him.

“I received a text. I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t reply.”