|Goaltender Dominik Hasek stretches in goal while participating in full practice today at Scotiabank Place. Photo: OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
The Ottawa Senators had every player back at practice today, with the exception of rookie goaltender Ray Emery, who was given his second consecutive day off to rest a sore hip.
Defencemen Zdeno Chara and Wade Redden, who returned to game action last night during a 4-3 overtime win against the Boston Bruins, skated today. Goaltender Dominik Hasek (adductor muscle strain), defenceman Chris Phillips (knee sprain), and forwards Patrick Eaves (lower body injury) and Martin Havlat (shoulder injury) are all expected to return to action in the near future; they were also on the ice this morning.
Having virtually a full-team practice today was refreshing for coach Bryan Murray.
"It gives everyone a sense of relief to know (the injured players) are available to us. Our team will feel better about itself going forward."
Says captain Daniel Alfredsson, "It's always tough when you're without your top players. I think we played alright when they were out, but we're so much better when they are in."
Mike Fisher appreciates the opportunity to finally have a full-team practice, especially with the playoffs approaching.
"It gives you a boost. We haven't had much practice with all of us. It's important to be firing on all cylinders."
Redden, who missed seven games for personal reasons, is glad to be back among his teammates.
"It's the time of year that's great to be playing. The style and way we play is what we have to focus on."
After two days of rest, Murray says he expects Emery will be fit to start in goal tomorrow against the Florida Panthers.