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McAmmond still plays waiting game

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Dean McAmmond is still hoping to shoulder his share of the load on Saturday night.

But the veteran forward admits his return to the Ottawa Senators lineup might have to wait for a few more days yet. That’s because the left shoulder that was injured on a flagrant hit by Philadelphia Flyers rookie Steve Downie during a pre-season game last month hasn’t recovered as quickly as McAmmond would have liked.

Mike Fisher (left), Andrej Meszaros and the Senators were back on the ice Wednesday at Scotiabank Place preparing for their next game against the New Jersey Devils.
Unless that changes in the next few days, he might have to put off plans to suit up against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night in Newark, N.J.

“I was aiming for Saturday,” McAmmond said after a brisk Senators workout at Scotiabank Place on Wednesday morning. “(The shoulder) just seems to be (recovering) a little slower than I thought.

“If it’s not feeling great (by Saturday), then next Thursday (against the Atlanta Thrashers) would be another target for us.”

On the bright side, McAmmond has received the necessary clearance from doctors to resume playing in the wake of the concussion he suffered on the Downie hit. While that was the bigger hurdle to clear, McAmmond remains concerned that he still doesn’t have the range of motion he needs in his left shoulder.

“If it’s not going to feel any better than it does right now, then I probably won’t be in for Saturday,” he said. “One more game out of the beginning of the season isn’t going to make much of a difference, but it might in rehab.”

The news was much better for winger Antoine Vermette, who’d been off the ice since leaving last Thursday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens with back spasms. Vermette took part in a full workout Wednesday and feels confident he’ll be ready to play against the Devils.

“We’ll see how things go the next couple of days, but it definitely felt pretty good today,” he said.
The timing of the injury certainly helped Vermette’s cause. The Senators are currently on a six-day break between games.

“The (light) schedule helped me be smart about it,” he said. “There’s no good time to get hurt but if I had to pick one spot for it to happen, this would be it.”

Head coach John Paddock liked what he saw out of Vermette on Wednesday.

“I’m not foreseeing any (injury) issues,” said Paddock. “It looks like he’s full steam ahead (for Saturday).”

By then, the Senators should be raring to get back into action. Saturday’s game in New Jersey is the only one they’ll play in a 10-day stretch.

“It’s still a slow time here,” said Paddock. “It’s just very different. It’s not what you’re used to, playing every other night or playing three in four (nights) and having a day off.

“It’s going to take a little bit of extra concentration by everybody to remain at their best.”

Count captain Daniel Alfredsson among those who don’t believe that’ll be an issue for the Senators, who are off to an 8-1-0 start that has them sitting atop the National Hockey League standings. Their three-day retreat in the Muskokas did a lot to break the potential monotony of a full week of practices.

“We’re going to have up-tempo practices (this week) and go to the gym a bit,” said Alfredsson. “Three days isn’t too long, but five days would have been a lot. I think (the break) will be good for us. We should be well rested and have a lot of jump on Saturday.”

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