|Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson expects to miss at least a week to 10 days while recovering from a minor jaw fracture suffered in Tuesday 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche in Denver (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images).
The Ottawa Senators will have to soldier on without their captain.Daniel Alfredsson
confirmed this morning that he suffered a fractured jaw when hit by a puck during the Sens' 3-2 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night in Denver. He expects to miss at least a week to 10 days while the fracture heals, then he'll undergo another X-ray at that point to determine the status of his recovery.
"It's a fracture, so it's just got to heal," Alfredsson said when asked about a timetable for his return. "You don't want to jeopardize it. I asked (doctors) what would happen if I tried to play and took another blow to it ... then you'd have to go in (for surgery) and fix it up with plates and stuff.
"So let's let the fracture heal and get some protection that will help it so maybe I can come back a little earlier than normal."
Doctors have told Alfredsson the fracture is "favourable" and no wiring of his jaw has been necessary, though he "can't chew anything right now." The left side of his jaw is visibly swollen.
"It sits in place and it should heal up properly," he said.
Alfredsson suffered the injury when hit by a deflected shot by teammate Dany Heatley late in the final period of the game against the Avalanche. He hadn't seen the X-ray results when he returned for the final few minutes of the game and overtime.
"I was hoping nothing would be broken," he said. "It was sore but it wasn't terrible pain."
Chris Kelly will mark his 300th game in a Senators uniform by filling Alfredsson's spot alongside Heatley and Jason Spezza
when Ottawa faces off against the Vancouver Canucks tonight at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200).
"I'm not going to replace Alfie," said Kelly. "I've just got to go out there, play my game, try to get to as many pucks as possible and have some fun with it."
Both Heatley and Spezza have previously spent time on a line with Kelly, so there should be a bit of familiarity there.
"(Kelly) is just a steady player. He can kind of do it all," said Heatley. "You can put him on any one of the four lines and he's going to do the job for us."
"It's a fracture, so it's just got to heal. You don't want to jeopardize it. I asked (doctors) what would happen if I tried to play and took another blow to it ... then you'd have to go in (for surgery) and fix it up with plates and stuff. So let's let the fracture heal and get some protection that will help it so maybe I can come back a little earlier than normal." - Daniel Alfredsson
Still, head coach Cory Clouston knows the void is obvious without Alfredsson in the lineup. Josh Hennessy has been summoned from the Senators' American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y., to fill the hole at forward.
"We're losing a pretty good player and our leader but it also means a real good opportunity and challenge for the rest of the team," he said. "It'll mean more ice time for different players and different roles for some players, but it's just a big challenge for us."
The Senators are finally back on home ice after an encouraging five-game road trip in which they earned nine of a possible 10 points and jumped up to 11th spot in the Eastern Conference standings. At 22-25-9, they're still 13 points shy of a playoff position but their 5-1-2 run under Clouston has the Senators believing anything is still possible.
"We're having a blast and I think that's the biggest thing right now," said forward Nick Foligno
. "We're really enjoying what we're doing and we have a lot of belief that we can make the playoffs. Any time you hve that kind of hope, you're going to have a great atmosphere."Around the boards
Brian Elliott (7-3-2) returns to the Senators net tonight ... The Canucks are on a roll themselves, going 6-1-0 in their last seven games ... Tonight's matchup marks the second stop on an four-game Canadian road trip for the visitors ... The Senators roster includes a trio of former Canucks: Jarkko Ruutu, Alex Auld
and Ryan Shannon ... Vancouver last visited Scotiabank Place on Jan. 18, 2007, and took home a 2-1 victory ... Fewer than 1,500 tickets remain for tonight's game.