by Todd Anderson
Ottawa Senators forward Dean McAmmond was back on the ice during the club's morning skate today and will be a game-time decision for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup final tonight. McAmmond left the ice early in the third period of Game 3 after suffering a blow to the head from Anaheim Ducks defenceman Chris Pronger's elbow. The veteran centre and key penalty-killer for Ottawa has been experiencing headaches and neck pain since the hit, but said he's feeling better today.
"I actually feel pretty good considering, (I took) a pretty good shot in the chin," McAmmond said during a news conference after today's skate. "As far as if I'm going to play tonight, I'm just going to continue on with my day and see how I feel later."
McAmmond will remain in communication with team doctors and the coaching staff throughout the day to inform them of his status.
"The headache seems to be going away. The neck seems to be loosening up with movement," McAmmond says. "That's pretty good, but there's other things, too. Just sometimes, if you ever got clunked in the head, you go along, some things you just know aren't right.
"If I get out on the ice and I don't feel quite right, then I don't feel like I should be in a situation trying to help this team win. If I'm out there killing a penalty and I don't feel confident that I can compete 100 per cent, then I would not put myself in that situation, or the team. Again, if I feel confident that I can compete at 100 per cent, then I think everything is a go."
Sens head coach Bryan Murray says he won't risk further injury to his players.
"(The team doctors) might say he can't play after the skate. They probably won't say he can play until game time. I think we'll wait. We'll talk to the trainers after but I want Dr. (Don) Chow and whoever works with him in that area to give me the green light. I will not put the player in if there's any chance of him hurting himself again."
Pronger, a Norris Trophy nominee and alternate captain with the Ducks, will not play tonight after receiving a one-game suspension for the hit. Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson says that doesn't change the focus of his team going into tonight's match.
"I don't think it's going to affect us at all. We're not going to change our game plan. We're going to play the same way. So for us, it's really no difference."