by Todd Anderson
Ottawa Senators centre Dean McAmmond remains a game-time decision for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final but he's hopeful that he can play tonight.
"I'm optimistic," McAmmond said this morning from the Honda Center in Anaheim. "I felt better yesterday on the ice than I did two days ago, so I'm hopeful in warm-up tonight I'll have another improvement like that and I'll be alright."
McAmmond, who was knocked out of Game 3 after being elbowed in the head by Ducks defenceman Chris Pronger, says he's still experiencing some minor neck pain and there is a slight delay in his visual perception. He did notice vast improvement yesterday, however, as he wasn't losing focus of the puck during practice. Still, he won't be rushed back into the lineup if he's not ready.
"We're all on the same page," McAmmond says of his conversations with doctors, trainers and coaches. "That's why I've been as clear with them as I can. I want to be in the lineup, but I'd like to be there for Games 6 and 7, as well."
Sens head coach Bryan Murray agrees that the team will not risk further injury to McAmmond.
"The one thing I want to be clear about here is that this guy is not going to play if there's any chance he's not going to be as close to 100 per cent as he can be," Murray says. "I just don't think you do that to anybody. The doctors and trainers are going to tell me he can play, and then Dean has to tell me he wants to play."