OTTAWA - Jason Spezza says there's no reason to worry about his back.
The Senators star centre won't be playing in Thursday's pre-season game against Montreal due to a minor strain, but says it has nothing to do with the back injury that forced him to miss most of last season and undergo surgery for a herniated disc.
"I'm just kind of dealing with a little bit of a strain and just want to make sure we deal with it so it doesn't become something that lingers," said Spezza. "I think I should be ok, that's why we are taking the precautions now. As much as I'd like to be playing in these ones and getting ready the ones in October mean a lot more."
Ideally Spezza would have liked to play in Wednesday's game against Montreal and the rematch on Thursday, but with the regular season just over a week away the new captain doesn't want to risk further injury.
Ottawa has one final pre-season game Sunday against the New York Islanders, but Spezza wouldn't even commit to being ready for that game.
"I just strained something in practice and just making sure it is taken care of," said Spezza. "Regular training camp stuff unfortunately happens sometimes. If I feel like there is any chance of straining it a lot more then I'm not going to play just to play and jeopardize not being ready for the first game of the year, but I'd like to play so if I feel good enough I'm going to play."
The Senators were also able to breathe a sigh of relief when it came to Bobby Ryan and Erik Karlsson's health Thursday.
Ryan and Karlsson left Wednesday's game against the Canadiens after both were shaken up in collisions. Both spoke to the media after the game and said it was merely precautionary.
After last year's endless rash of injuries one wouldn't blame the Senators and their fans for feeling a little paranoid, but coach Paul MacLean put minds to rest Thursday saying, "everybody is fine."
Most veterans were given the day off Thursday and it's expected the entire team will be given Friday off.
Notes: G Craig Anderson will get the start Thursday against the Canadiens???The Senators placed Jim O'Brien, Tyler Eckford, Corey Cowick and Nathan Lawson on waivers Thursday. Curtis Lazar will see his first NHL pre-season action Thursday against Montreal???Paul MacLean said the team would like to start the regular season with 22 players or maybe 23???After taking a stick to the face in Wednesday's game Erik Condra had to have dental work done Thursday.