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Spezza joins Sens injury list

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Senators centre Jason Spezza is expected to be out "weeks" with a right knee injury he suffered in Monday night's loss to the Maple Leafs  (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).

The pronounced limp spoke volumes as Jason Spezza walked gingerly into the Ottawa Senators dressing room.

"It's not doing too good," Spezza said earlier today as he spoke about the right knee injury he suffered in the final seconds of Monday night's 3-2 loss to the Maple Leafs in Toronto.

Senators head coach Cory Clouston used "weeks" to describe the time frame he expects Spezza to be sidelined with what he termed a "fairly serious" knee injury. Josh Hennessy has been recalled from the American Hockey League's Binghamton Senators to provide depth for a forward corps that was already missing Chris Neil and Shean Donovan -- both also out with knee injuries.

"It means we're going to have be more of a team than ever," Clouston said when asked how the Senators will move forward without their No. 1 centre. "It means we're going to have to have guys step up and play with structure. It's a great opportunity for some guys."

Added captain Daniel Alfredsson: "Any time one of your top offensive guys goes down, it leaves a little bit of a hole. But we'll keep plugging along. Everybody's got to chip in a little bit more."

Jesse Winchester skated between captain Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek during practice today at Scotiabank Place, a combination that will at least start Wednesday's night Northeast Division showdown with the Buffalo Sabres at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m., TSN2, Team 1200).

"(Winchester) did a great job when (Mike) Fisher missed a couple of games," said Clouston. "He played with Kovalev and I thought they did a very good job. He's shown he's able to give us some real good minutes and he'll still kill penalties for us. The way he plays can't change but his role will change. He's going to get a lot more minutes playing with different players."

Spezza suffered the injury with about 30 seconds left in Monday's game, when Leafs centre Lee Stempniak rolled onto his knee after a faceoff. He knew right away something wasn't right.

"I felt something pop," said Spezza. "Then I tried to get up and skate and had no power, so I knew something was wrong and I went right off."

"I felt something pop. Then I tried to get up and skate and had no power, so I knew something was wrong and I went right off ... But it didn't feel good." - Jason Spezza
The Senators will learn more about the severity of the injury after Spezza undergoes an MRI later this afternoon.

"We'll get an MRI and get a better read for what they think time-wise. That's a doctor's job," he said. ""It's tough to tell. I really don't want to speculate because I don't know how bad it is. But it didn't feel good."

Spezza has only five goals in the Senators' first 32 games but hit the scoresheet in back-to-back contests against Carolina and Toronto. All of which makes the timing of this injury a little tougher to take.

"My game was coming around a little bit," he said. "It's always frustrating when you get hurt. It's part of the game, but it's never easy.

"It's a big stretch of the season, but we've just got to move on. Our team has been successful because everybody has chipped in at different times. It's just going to continue, I'm sure."

Around the boards

Clouston remains hopeful that both Neil and goaltender Pascal Leclaire (fractured cheekbone) might return to the lineup before Christmas. The Senators have five games left before the two-day National Hockey League shutdown for the holiday ... Forwards Chris Kelly and Nick Foligno and defenceman Chris Phillips took "maintenance" days off practice today and all are likely to be in the lineup against the Sabres ... Fewer than 3,500 tickets remain for Wednesday's matchup with Buffalo. It's another Subway Savings Game, with all regular-priced tickets priced at 20 per cent off, starting at $14 in the Coke Zero Zone.

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