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Chara, Volchenkov questionable for weekend games

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators
Centre Jason Spezza, left, returned to practice today after missing Tuesday's game with a hip pointer injury. Spezza joined Patrick Eaves, right, and Dany Heatley on a line today. Photo: OSHC

by Todd Anderson

The Senators will have centre Jason Spezza back in the lineup when they visit the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night, but defencemen Zdeno Chara and Anton Volchenkov could both be out with separate injuries.

While Spezza was back on the ice with his teammates at practice this morning at the Bell Sensplex, Chara and Volchenkov were absent.

Chara has a swollen right hand from a fight with Pittsburgh's Eric Cairns on March 21. He plans to take this weekend off and hopes to return on March 28 against New Jersey.

"Right now we want to treat it, and rest it," Chara said. "I'm probably not going to play the next two games. I'm staying (in Ottawa)."

The Senators leader in average minutes spoke about why he dropped the gloves with Cairns.

"I want to stick up for my teammates, that's priority. I have to look after myself too. I don't mind dropping the gloves. There have been a lot of times I've controlled myself, sometimes you have to do it."

Chris Phillips will miss having his partner at his side.

"He's a big part of our team, not to mention we've played together a long time. You get used to each other's habits."

Volchenkov, meanwhile, rode on a stationary bike this morning and his status is listed as day-to-day. He was injured after a hit from Eric Boguniecki during the same game against Pittsburgh.

Coach Bryan Murray didn't rule him out for this weekend's games against Buffalo, and in Philadelphia on Saturday.

"He'll go on the trip. It's up to him, and how he feels. We're not going to put anybody in, if it jeopardizes them getting hurt again."

Binghamton Senators defenceman Filip Novak has been recalled on an emergency basis and will meet the team in Buffalo.

Spezza feeling better

Spezza said after practice this morning he felt great after the couple of days off he received. He'll be in the lineup tomorrow. Spezza analyzed what the keys to victory would be against Buffalo.

"In our last game the first period was one of our best all year. They're like us. If they get the first goal, it's hard for us to come back. They try to play us tight. We have to open the game up against them."

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