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Craig Anderson nearing return for Senators: report

Goaltender could play Saturday for first time since taking leave of absence @NHL

Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson is getting closer to returning, coach Guy Boucher told the Ottawa Sun.

Anderson, who has not played since Dec. 5, took a leave of absence from the Senators to be with his wife, Nicholle, who was having treatments for cancer. Anderson rejoined Ottawa on Jan. 30, and has been working on his conditioning with Senators goalie coach Pierre Groulx.

Anderson could play as soon as Saturday, when Ottawa hosts the New York Islanders (1 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS, MSG+, NHL.TV).

"Are we getting close? Oh yeah, we're getting close, very close, but when, I can't tell you right now," Boucher told the Sun on Wednesday. "We're getting close, but we want to be smart and the process is important.

"You don't want to throw somebody in a position where he's not ready. He needs to feel ready, the goalie coach needs to feel [Anderson] is ready and when he's ready, then we move to the next step. He's already really far into the process. He's close. Let's not kid ourselves.

"If there's nothing happening in terms of circumstances off the ice, it's imminent, but imminent could be next week."

After facing the Islanders, the Senators are home against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN5, RDS, MSG-B, NHL.TV).

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