|Martin Havlat, right, has worked hard with Ottawa Senators strength and conditioning coach Randy Lee, left, during his rehab.|
by Todd Anderson
Practice was almost back to normal today as Dany Heatley, Anton Volchenkov, Jason Spezza and Wade Redden returned from the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. They join fellow Olympians Andrej Meszaros, Zdeno Chara and Christoph Schubert, who returned to practice on Monday. Captain Daniel Alfredsson was scheduled to return to Ottawa Tuesday afternoon.
Even Martin Havlat, who is rehabbing an injured shoulder, was on the ice today.
"I had the shoulder checked (Monday night) and I was given clearance to resume practice without contact," Havlat said. "It was nice to be on the ice with the guys. I am going with them to Pittsburgh, too. I finally feel like part of the team again."
Havlat will have the shoulder checked again towards the end of the month and he hopes to return to action at least a few games before the playoffs begin.
"I would love that so I could get some timing back," he said. "My range of motion is 100 per cent. Now I just have to get the shoulder stronger and get ready for contact."
Back this afternoon from Sweden where he has been celebrating his gold-medal victory, Alfredsson will meet the rest of the Senators in Pittsburgh, where they will play the Penguins tomorrow night.
"He will fly to Pittsburgh and meet us there (tomorrow)," said coach Bryan Murray. "I will talk to him tomorrow, but I think he will be playing at this point."
Goaltender Billy Thompson was at practice today and will back up Ray Emery against Pittsburgh. Thompson was recalled from the American Hockey League's Binghamton Senators as an emergency replacement for Dominik Hasek, who is rehabbing his strained adductor muscle suffered at the Games in Italy.
"I guess this is a foot-in-the-door type of thing," Thompson said after practice. "For a goaltender, there's a lot more thinking (in the NHL compared to AHL). The shots aren't faster, but the guys hit spots better."