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Karlsson opens up about his son Axel's death in poignant interview

This is a hard one to watch...

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The last few weeks have been extremely hard for captain Erik Karlsson and the Ottawa Senators following the loss of the star defenseman's unborn son Axel on March 19. The club had to make the tragic announcement that Karlsson and his wife Melinda's son had died. 

Just a day after the announcement, the couple made a public statement... a very moving one. On social media, Karlsson was able to chose the right words to describe the most awful situation a family can go through. Here is his moving statement: 

"At this extremely difficult time it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel but we know one day we'll get there. We would like to thank everyone for the love and support we have received and also for respecting our privacy and the process that we need to go through. 

We feel very lucky to be Axel's parents. Even though he was stillborn, we know we will hold him again one day under different circumstances and the joy he gave us will be with us forever."

For the first time in a public interview with the Ottawa Sun, Karlsson opened up about the devastating tragedy, in a gut-wrenching way. 

"I'm doing okay," Karlsson told the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch following Thursday's overtime win over the Florida Panthers. "It's been an extremely tough time and a situation I never expected to be in.

"I just want to thank my teammates, this organization, this community, people around the league and people we don't even know for giving us their support and our time to be ourselves and grieve. Looking back it meant a lot to us for all the people that reached out - people that we know and people that we don't know. It helped us get through this a little bit."

Karlsson is well too aware that things will not get easier, but did mention that he and his wife Melinda Currey have remained strong. 

"It's going to take us a very long time to get back to normal, but we're going to do everything we can to stay as positive as possible," he said. "I think my wife has handled the situation better than I could have ever imagined and it's not something that you can prepare yourself for."

While playing games has helped take his mind off things, Karlsson admitted that it's been hard to get himself up for games, though he has been back in action for three games since his son's death. 

"It's been hard ... It's been hard to kind of get the motivation," he said. "At the same time, it's been kind of a comfort zone to get back into routine and think about something else for awhile.

"At the end of the day, these guys mean a lot to me and when we go through something like this everybody gets together and they really embraced me and given me everything that I need in this time. For me to just get back to normal and see everybody else behave normal has helped me a lot."

Karlsson's status for the team's final road trip remains unclear, but he's hoping to end the regular season calendar with his second family. 

“Hopefully I can play the remainder of the season out.

“I don’t know yet. I’m going to go to Detroit (Friday),” he said. “I’m going to leave the house for the first time and see how it goes. My wife is still struggling a little bit. Overall, she’s doing fine physically which has been a relief."

Let's hope Karlsson and Melinda keep healing and feeling better following this tragic event.