|Dominik Hasek, right, with strength and conditioning coach Randy Lee returned to the ice today for the first time since straining his adductor muscle at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, on Feb. 15. Photo: T. Anderson/OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
Ottawa Senators goaltender Dominik Hasek returned to the ice for the first time today in Boston since straining his adductor muscle during Team Czech Republic's first game against Germany at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, on Feb. 15.
Although he was only dressed in warm-up gear today, and not his goaltender equipment, Hasek was just happy to go for a skate on the TD Banknorth Center ice. Photo gallery
"It's good to be back on the ice," Hasek said after working a half hour with strength and conditioning coach Randy Lee. "There's still many things I feel I'm not able to do, so there was no reason to go out in full equipment. I did feel some improvement. We'll wait a few more days, a week, whatever."
General manager John Muckler watched from the visitors bench.
"I loved his style. I think we'll use him for a shootout," he joked after watching shooting pucks on net with a player's stick. "I don't know how far away he is, but he seems satisfied (afterwards). It's baby steps right now."
Muckler feels there's no reason to rush Hasek back, because rookie Ray Emery has filled in so well.
"I don't want to put a timetable (on Hasek's return) and I don't think he does, either. Emery is having a good stretch, so we're not in a hurry to make any changes."
When asked if he will be ready for the playoffs, Hasek responded, "That's my goal. My focus is to get back on the ice and play some games before the playoffs. I want to be able to compete hard, and play hard. It won't be today, it won't be this week, but I know I will be back."
Schubert back in the lineup
Christoph Schubert will play tonight, lining up as a forward with Chris Kelly and Antoine Vermette. The natural defenceman has been a pleasant surprise for the Senators despite playing out of his position at times this season. He's offered a boost in checking and overall energy while skating on the wing.
Coach Bryan Murray felt it was time to get the versatile rookie back in tonight.
"We had to get him into a game again, a chance to play. Our blueline corps has been good lately, so we didn't want to do anything there."