|Senators forward Antoine Vermette returns to the lineup tonight from a hip injury. He's missed the last five games. Photo: A. Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
The Ottawa Senators will have speedy forward Antoine Vermette back in the lineup tonight when they face off against the New York Rangers in their first road game of 2007. The addition of Vermette will help the Senators as they look to win their fourth-straight game away from Scotiabank Place.
Vermette, who has missed the last five games with a hip injury, spoke about how he was feeling after the morning skate today.
"It's good. I was getting better the last couple of days. Yesterday I skated hard with (assistant coach) John Paddock (at the Bell Sensplex in Ottawa). I pushed it a little bit and today it was fine. I feel I'm ready to play now."
Senators head coach Bryan Murray spoke about what Vermette brings to the lineup.
"He's a fast kid with good hands and good imagination. I want him to have a chance to score goals and be the player he is. Obviously, because he kills penalties for us a lot, he's valuable on the defensive side of the puck as well."
Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov, who was hurt after blocking a shot from Bruins forward Glen Murray during a 5-2 win over Boston on Tuesday, didn't skate this morning and is questionable for tonight. If Volchenkov can't play, Christoph Schubert will be moved back to defence.
"He's got a sore ankle from the shot the other night," said Murray concerning Volchenkov. "We'll have to see at game time if he can play or not. It was a point-blank (shot) by Glen Murray that stunned him pretty well. We had it checked out. He's sore at this point with skating and flexibility. He's a tough kid. The odds are he will play, but we'll just wait until that time to figure it out."
Today's lines at practice included: Dany Heatley, Chris Kelly, Daniel Alfredsson; Peter Schaefer, Mike Comrie, Chris Neil; Vermette, Dean McAmmond, Patrick Eaves; and Denis Hamel, Josh Hennessy, Brian McGrattan.
Schubert skated in Volchenkov's place with Chris Phillips on defence.