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Posted On Tuesday, 04.10.2012 / 4:12 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Senators give Zibanejad a look at practice

KANATA, Ont. -- The Ottawa Senators held their second full practice Tuesday afternoon in preparation for their series against the New York Rangers, which begins on Thursday. Here were the lines as they appeared during the skate:

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Mika Zibanejad
Nick Foligno - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Colin Greening - Jesse Winchester - Chris Neil
Zack Smith - Jim O'Brien - Erik Condra

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - Matt Gilroy

Craig Anderson
Ben Bishop

Matt Carkner (lower-body injury) was absent from practice for the second consecutive day, but coach Paul MacLean expects that he will participate in Wednesday's skate. O'Brien took a puck off his hand and left practice early. MacLean said he will be evaluated but he didn't hear anything "drastic about it" from the team's physical trainers.

Mika Zibanejad was given time as a top-six forward, leading to additional speculation that the No. 6 pick in the 2011 NHL Draft could see action during the Senators' postseason. Zibanejad, who had one assist in nine games for the Senators at the start of the season before he was returned to Djurgårdens IF of the Swedish Elite League, will head to Binghamton to play in the final two games of the season, after which he would be made available to the big club.

"I don't know what's going to happen," Zibanejad said. "We'll take it day by day. I'm just doing what the coach and [Bryan] Murray wants me to do. Obviously, you hear so much about the playoffs and you want to be a part of it. But I'm here to work hard and just make sure I'm ready when the opportunity comes up.

"[Zibanejad] brings speed and offensive ability, there's no question," Daniel Alfredsson said. "He's been playing in Sweden most of the year and getting lots of ice time. We haven't seen him much lately, but he's looking good in practice. We'll see what the coaches decide."

"We wanted to see how [Zibanejad's] done, now with his season over, and just give him an opportunity to practice with our best guys and see how he looked," MacLean said. "I think right now he's going to Binghamton to play with them this weekend, and he'll be available to us if we feel like we can use him. Basically we're seeing how he's progressed. I thought he skated real good, but he's still a young player."

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Posted On Monday, 04.09.2012 / 3:52 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - Rangers vs. Senators series blog

Neil skates, status for series opener 'looking good'

KANATA, Ont. -- The Ottawa Senators took to the ice Monday morning in preparation for their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the New York Rangers, which begins on Thursday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Chris Neil, who did not play during the last game of the regular season against New Jersey due to an upper-body injury, skated alone prior to practice and participated in the first 15 minutes of drills before leaving the ice. MacLean anticipates that Neil will be ready for Thursday, as does Neil himself.

"I feel pretty good -- went out early, did about 45 minutes … things are looking good for Thursday," he said.

Here are the lines from Monday's practice:

Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Colin Greening
Nick Foligno - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Zack Smith - Jesse Winchester - Chris Neil
Erik Condra - Jim O'Brien - Kaspars Daugavins

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips - Matt Gilroy
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar

Craig Anderson
Ben Bishop

Defenseman Matt Carkner did not participate in practice.

"We're obviously excited to get back in the playoffs as you can tell," Jason Spezza said. "We had a great practice today -- there's a little bit more jump out there and we're just looking forward to getting started. [As for losing the last three games of the regular season], playoffs wipe everything clean. Now it's just looking forward to the first game and getting the momentum."

After completing his season with Djurgårdens IF of the Swedish Elite League, Mika Zibanejad arrived in Ottawa on Sunday and took part in the morning practice. Zibanejad will to report to Binghamton to play in the team's final two games of the season, however, MacLean said "there's a consideration -- [Zibanejad] would be allowed to play for us [in the postseason] … we just have to be sure that's the right thing to do."
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Posted On Thursday, 04.05.2012 / 12:30 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Senators, Bruins

KANATA, Ont. -- Here are the projected lineups for the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators on Thursday night at Scotiabank Place:

SENATORS
Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Colin Greening
Nick Foligno - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Zack Smith - Jim O'Brien - Chris Neil
Rob Klinkhammer - Jesse Winchester - Erik Condra

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips - Matt Carkner
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar

Ben Bishop
Craig Anderson

Alex Auld, Zenon Konopka, Bobby Butler, Matt Gilroy and Kaspars Daugavins are the healthy scratches. Kuba and Karlsson did not participate in the morning skate, but coach Paul MacLean insisted that both would play.

BRUINS
Milan Lucic - David Krejci - Tyler Seguin
Brad Marchand - Chris Kelly - Rich Peverley
Benoit Pouliot - Brian Rolston - Jordan Caron
Lane MacDermid - Gregory Campbell - Shawn Thornton

Dennis Seidenberg - Andrew Ference
Greg Zanon - Joe Corvo
Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid

Anton Khudobin
Marty Turco

Tim Thomas, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara did not travel with the team -- all three are resting in preparation for the playoffs. MacDermid was recalled from Providence on Wednesday and will start on the fourth line. The Bruins said defenseman Johnny Boychuk is day-to-day after sustaining a knee strain against Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Goalie Tuukka Rask (lower body) is anticipated to be back in time for the postseason. Mike Mottau is a healthy scratch.

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Posted On Tuesday, 04.03.2012 / 12:08 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Senators, Hurricanes

KANATA, Ont. -- Here are the projected lineups for the Carolina Hurricanes and the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday night. The Senators held a full morning skate, while the Hurricanes did not take to the ice.

SENATORS

Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Milan Michalek
Nick Foligno - Jason Spezza - Daniel Alfredsson
Erik Condra - Zack Smith - Chris Neil
Kaspars Daugavins - Jim O'Brien - Jesse Winchester

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Chris Phillips - Matt Carkner
Jared Cowen - Matt Gilroy

Craig Anderson
Alex Auld

Sergei Gonchar has a lower-body injury, coach Paul MacLean said. He is day-to-day. Ben Bishop (groin) skated for the fourth consecutive day. "Things are positive and progressing for him," MacLean said.

Zenon Konopka, Rob Klinkhammer and Bobby Butler are the healthy scratches.

HURRICANES

Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Chad LaRose
Jeff Skinner - Jussi Jokinen - Tuomo Ruutu
Drayson Bowman - Brandon Sutter - Patrick Dwyer
Derek Joslin - Tim Brent - Anthony Stewart

Bryan Allen - Tim Gleason
Jay Harrison - Justin Faulk
Joni Pitkanen - Jamie McBain

Cam Ward
Brian Boucher

Jaroslav Spacek (lower body) has not played since March 17, but is reportedly skating with the team.
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Posted On Saturday, 03.24.2012 / 1:33 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Penguins, Senators

KANATA, Ont. – Here are the projected lineups for a Saturday night game between the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Scotiabank Place:

SENATORS

Colin GreeningJason SpezzaMilan Michalek
Zack SmithKyle TurrisDaniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno – Jim O’Brien – Chris Neil
Rob KlinkhammerKaspars DaugavinsErik Condra

Filip KubaErik Karlsson
Jared CowenSergei Gonchar
Chris PhillipsMatt Carkner

Ben Bishop
Craig Anderson

Bobby Butler, Zenon Konopka, Matt Gilroy and Alex Auld are the healthy scratches. Matt Carkner returns to the lineup after sitting the past 12 games.

PENGUINS

Chris KunitzEvgeni MalkinJames Neal
Steve Sullivan - Jordan StaalPascal Dupuis
Matt CookeSidney CrosbyTyler Kennedy
Eric TangradiCraig Adams – Aaron Asham

Paul MartinKris Letang
Brooks OrpikZbynek Michalek
Ben LovejoyDeryk Engelland

Brad Thiessen
Marc-Andre Fleury

Matt Niskanen (unspecified) and Joe Vitale (upper-body) are both day-to-day and did not travel with the team. Brent Johnson (unspecified) is also day-to-day. Richard Park and Dustin Jeffrey are the healthy scratches.

Crosby admitted the ability to vault into first place in the Eastern Conference with a win against the Senators on Saturday night is in the back of the Pens’ minds.

“It’s something we’re aware of and we want to get it but I think if we focus on the way we need to play, those things will take care of themselves,” Crosby said.  “We’ve got some games here before playoffs and we want to make sure we’re playing the right way.”

The Pittsburgh captain also continues to feel better on the ice, but he still wants to work on his timing.

“I’m just (trying to) get comfortable with the speed and decisions,” he said. “There’s so many aspects that go into a full, complete game. You kind of have to learn on the fly, sometimes. There’s only so much you can do as far as practicing – you have to get into games. I think the speed and the decision making takes a little longer (to get back).”
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Posted On Tuesday, 03.20.2012 / 12:28 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Spezza to play 600th game as Senators host Devils

KANATA, Ont. -- Here are the projected lineups for Tuesday night's game between the Ottawa Senators and the New Jersey Devils at Scotiabank Place -- both teams held optional skates.

SENATORS

Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Milan Michalek
Rob Klinkhammer - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno - Jim O'Brien - Chris Neil
Zenon Konopka - Zack Smith - Erik Condra

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - Matt Gilroy

Ben Bishop
Alex Auld

Bobby Butler, Kaspars Daugavins and Matt Carkner are the healthy scratches.

Spezza will play in his 600th career game on Tuesday night. On Monday, the center served as pallbearer at the funeral of his childhood friend, Canadian freestyle skier, Nik Zoricic, who was killed during a World Cup event on Mar. 10.

"It's a good honor to play that many games, and it's good to see him do it," Chris Neil said. "He's a professional and he knows he has to step in and play -- and a big milestone like this -- obviously he's got a lot on his plate. But he'll be able to put that aside."

"He's going through a lot, but everyone goes through a lot at times," coach Paul MacLean said. "A lot of time, the most comfortable place to be is with your teammates."

DEVILS

Zach Parise - Adam Henrique - Ilya Kovalchuk
Petr Sykora - Patrik Elias - Dainius Zubrus
Alexei Ponikarovsky - Jacob Josefson - David Clarkson
Eric Boulton - Ryan Carter - Cam Janssen

Andy Greene - Mark Fayne
Bryce Salvador - Marek Zidlicky
Anton Volchenkov - Adam Larsson

Johan Hedberg
Martin Brodeur

Travis Zajac (Achilles tendon) will not play in Ottawa -- he is skating, but remains day-to-day. Matt Taomina and Steve Bernier are the scratches.
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Posted On Saturday, 03.17.2012 / 1:08 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Projected lineups for Maple Leafs, Senators

KANATA, Ont. – Here are the projected lineups for Saturday night when the Ottawa Senators and the Toronto Maple Leafs meet at Scotiabank Place:

SENATORS

Colin GreeningJason SpezzaMilan Michalek
Rob KlinkhammerKyle TurrisDaniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno – Jim O’Brien – Chris Neil
Bobby ButlerZack SmithErik Condra

Filip KubaErik Karlsson
Jared CowenSergei Gonchar
Chris PhillipsMatt Gilroy

Ben Bishop
Alex Auld

Zenon Konopka, Matt Carkner and Kaspars Daugavins are the healthy scratches.

General manager Bryan Murray told TV reporters that Craig Anderson (hand) requires a full four weeks of recovery, according to the surgeon who repaired the severed tendon in Anderson’s pinkie finger. This means that the earliest the goaltender could return to duty would be Mar. 23 against Montreal.

When asked why he chose not to bring physical players like Carkner and Konopka back into the lineup against the Leafs, coach Paul MacLean deadpanned, “The games (against Toronto) haven’t been that truculent.”

MAPLE LEAFS

After an optional skate Saturday morning, Randy Carlyle would not confirm if the team would once again go with seven defensemen. Here are the projected lines if the Leafs choose to go that route:

Clarke MacArthurTyler BozakPhil Kessel
Carter AshtonMikhail GrabovskiMatt Frattin
Tim ConnollyDavid SteckelJoey Crabb
Matthew Lombardi –Colby Armstrong

Carl GunnarssonDion Phaneuf
John-Michael LilesMike Komisarek
Jake GardinerLuke Schenn
Cody Franson

James Reimer
Jonas Gustavsson

Mike Brown (thigh) remains day-to-day. Nikolai Kulemin (finger) and Joffrey Lupul (shoulder) are still three weeks away from returning. Jay Rosehill is the likely healthy scratch.
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Posted On Friday, 03.16.2012 / 12:58 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Win over Habs would vault Senators atop Northeast

KANATA, Ont. -- Here are the starting lineups for Friday’s game between the Ottawa Senators and Montreal Canadiens at Scotiabank Place:

SENATORS
Colin Greening - Jason Spezza - Milan Michalek
Rob Klinkhammer - Kyle Turris - Daniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno - Jim O'Brien - Chris Neil
Bobby Butler - Zack Smith - Erik Condra

Filip Kuba - Erik Karlsson
Jared Cowen - Sergei Gonchar
Chris Phillips - Matt Gilroy

Ben Bishop
Alex Auld

After being scratched for the past four games, Butler returns to the lineup, making Kaspars Daugavins, in addition to Matt Carkner and Zenon Konopka, healthy scratches.

With a win on Friday night, the Senators could vault ahead of the Bruins to lead the Northeast Division. Spezza insists that the team is maintaining focus.

"It's obviously something that’s in the back of our minds," he said. "We're just trying to play good hockey and pick up as many points as we can. We're trying not to focus too much on what's happening around us, other than how we're playing. If we can take care of how we're playing, things will take care of themselves."

CANADIENS

Max Pacioretty - David Desharnais - Erik Cole
Rene Bourque - Tomas Plekanec - Ryan White
Blake Geoffrion - Lars Eller - Louis Leblanc
Brad Staubitz - Petteri Nokelainen - Aaron Palushaj

Josh Gorges - P.K. Subban
Alexei Emelin - Yannick Weber
Chris Campoli - Federic St-Denis

Carey Price
Peter Budaj

Andrei Markov is out with an upper-body injury, and Alexei Emelin will return to the lineup. Tomas Kaberle is day-to-day, also with an upper-body injury. Mike Blunden, who has missed the last 20 games (lower body) practiced on Friday morning with the team. Raphael Diaz remains out with a lower-body injury.

Habs coach Randy Cunneyworth was coy about playing the role of spoiler against the Senators.

"We still have a lot to play for," he said. "Other teams have other things to play for. But there's always something important to be playing for. We have to be playing for the right reasons. We have to play hard, we have to compete. If it spoils (things) for other teams, so be it."
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Posted On Saturday, 03.10.2012 / 1:29 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Report: Karlsson questionable for Senators

KANATA, Ont. – Here are the projected lineups for a game Saturday night between the Ottawa Senators and the Buffalo Sabres. The Senators held a full practice, while the Sabres went with an optional skate.

SENATORS

Colin GreeningJason SpezzaMilan Michalek
Rob KlinkhammerKyle TurrisDaniel Alfredsson
Nick Foligno – Jim O’Brien – Chris Neil
Kaspars DaugavinsZack SmithErik Condra

Filip KubaErik Karlsson
Jared CowenSergei Gonchar
Chris PhillipsMatt Gilroy

Ben Bishop
Alex Auld

According to Cassie Campbell-Pascal of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, Erik Karlsson (general soreness) is a game-time decision for the Senators. Karlsson took part in practice Saturday, but did not participate Friday. If Karlsson does not play, Matt Carkner will re-enter the lineup.

Jesse Winchester (concussion) skated with the team during practice for the second consecutive day and he “appears to be symptom-free,” according to coach Paul MacLean. “At some point we have to do the protocol and see where he ends up, but it’s a process.” There is still no timetable set for his return.

Craig Anderson (hand) also saw ice time Saturday morning. “It’s positive, he practiced again today and he handled the puck,” MacLean said. “He’s getting more comfortable with that and I think they’re still making some adjustments to his glove.” There is no timeline on his return.

Zenon Konopka, Bobby Butler and Carkner would be the healthy scratches if Karlsson can play.

SABRES

The following are the lines from the Sabres’ practice Friday. Thomas Vanek, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury and Patrick Kaleta (general soreness) are game-time decisions. On Friday, Marcus Foligno was called up on an emergency basis from Rochester. On Saturday morning, Lindy Ruff said of Foligno, “I want him to be the best Foligno on the ice.” This would appear to indicate that Marcus will be playing Saturday night, but it is uncertain whom he would be replacing, leaving the Buffalo lines in a great amount of flux.

Ville LeinoCody HodgsonJason Pominville
Drew StaffordTyler EnnisBrad Boyes
Nathan GerbeDerek RoyCorey Tropp
Matt EllisCody McCormickPatrick Kaleta

Jordan LeopoldTyler Myers
Christian Ehrhoff – Alexander Sultzer
Robyn RegehrMike Weber

Ryan Miller
Jhonas Enroth

Andrej Sekera (flu-like symptoms) did not travel with the team.
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Posted On Friday, 03.02.2012 / 2:01 PM

By Erin Nicks -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - At the Rink blog

Toews unlikely to join Hawks on road trip

KANATA, Ont. -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Friday that he doubts team captain Jonathan Toews will join the team at any point during its road trip, which after Friday's game in Ottawa goes to Detroit and St. Louis.

Toews will miss his sixth straight game Friday with an upper-body injury. He's back in Chicago taking part in off-ice workouts, but has yet to skate.

"Right now I don't want to get anyone excited," Quenneville said. "We'll just say, 'We'll see.' We're hopeful. To give you a better idea, until we get him on the ice, we'll know more."
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Quote of the Day

There was a lot of talk off the ice. From a player's standpoint, that's not the talk in the room. GMs make decisions, coaches make decisions, but as a team you have to come together and be ready to go, and we are.

— San Jose Sharks forward Tommy Wingels on his team's approach entering training camp