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Kuba feeling '100 per cent' healthy for new season

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Senators defenceman Filip Kuba had his 2009-10 season cut short by surgery on April 6 to repair a herniated disc in his back. But he's good to go for training camp (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).

Filip Kuba is back to where he wants to be.

Back to feeling exactly the way he hoped to feel on the ice as he prepares to take his first strides into his 10th full National Hockey League season.

The veteran Ottawa Senators defenceman had his 2009-10 campaign cut short by surgery on April 6 to repair a herniated disc in his back. It was an ailment that nagged Kuba throughout the season and limited the Czech blueliner to 53 games, the lowest of his career.

But after a summer's worth of rehabbing the injury and workouts, Kuba has proclaimed himself fully fit for the start of Senators training camp on Friday.

"The rehab went fine," Kuba said earlier today after an informal skate with a number of his Senators teammates at the Bell Sensplex. "I worked out all summer and I did all the things I've done in previous summers. I didn't have any problems. So far, so good ... I'm happy I'm 100 per cent now and I'm looking forward to the next season."

That certainly wasn't the case last season, with his back pain becoming so unbearable by season's end that Kuba had to finally pull the plug on his year.

"It was a struggle for me at the end of last season with the injury," he said. "I tried to play with it and it was frustrating to not be able to do the things I wanted to do on the ice. The surgery (performed in Los Angeles) was the only option."

Kuba has been skating since the beginning of August and believes he'll be able to play his game right from the get-go in the season ahead.

"Physically, I think I'm where I was before (the injury)," he said. "Now it's just about getting the playing confidence back. I skated for the last month but there was no physical play involved. That's something I'm also going to have to try out."

Senators rookies wrap up tournament tonight in London

After splitting their first two games of the rookie tournament in London, Ont., the Senators will try to finish on a high note with a victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at the John Labatt Centre (7 p.m., Rogers TV, Team 1200).

Robin Lehner will make the start in the goal for the Sens rookies, who lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3 and whipped the Chicago Blackhawks 7-3 in their previous outings at the tournament.

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