UNIONDALE, N.Y. ó The season could be over for defenceman Filip Kuba.
After Kuba missed his 15th game Saturday afternoon with a back injury he suffered playing for the Czech Republic at the Olympics, coach Cory Clouston said the injury isnít getting any better and Kubaís chances of playing again this spring are slim.
Kuba, who has suited up just once since the Olympics, didnít make the Sensí final road trip of the regular season. Clouston wasnít shedding much light Saturday on the timetable for the defencemanís return.
ďI donít know where heís at right now. I really donít. Itís not progressing the way we would like,Ē Clouston said before Ottawaís 4-1 loss to the Islanders.
ďWith backs, you just donít know, itís up in the air. I wish I could give you more information. One day itís better, the next itís not. For those of us who have had bad backs, you can totally understand that.Ē
Kuba is a big loss for the Senators. The 10-year NHL veteran skated with Erik Karlsson most of the season in the clubís second defence pairing, often played more than 20 minutes a game and logged plenty of time on the power play.
Fortunately, the Senators have some depth on defence. They brought in 6-foot-5 blueliner Andy Sutton at the trade deadline to help fill the void left by Kubaís absence. Brian Lee was sent back to the clubís AHL affiliate in Binghamton on Saturday, but he is only a phone call away and has playoff experience. Rookie Jared Cowen is also eligible to play.
There is some good news on the injury front with winger Milan Michalek, who has missed nine games with a knee injury. He was on the ice Saturday, could practise Monday and might suit up Tuesday night against Florida.
The Senators would like to get Michalek back into the lineup before the playoffs.
Around the boards
Sutton heard from NHL VP Colin Campbell Friday following his hit Thursday on Carolinaís Jussi Jokinen. The NHL disciplinarian said Sutton left his feet and fined him for the incident ... Rookie RW Bobby Butler, signed out of the University of New Hampshire Monday, played well enough in his debut on the fourth line Thursday to earn a spot in the lineup again Saturday. ďHe played well. As the game went on, I thought you couldnít ask a lot more from a guy in his first NHL game,Ē said Clouston. ďHe played with a lot of poise and confidence and generated some offence as well.Ē Butler had a glorious opportunity Saturday in the first period on Martin Biron, but couldnít connect on a pass from Chris Kelly ... Slated to become a UFA on July 1, Sutton spoke to New York reporters before the game and didnít rule out returning to the Islanders.
Ottawa LW Nick Foligno had only the second fight of his pro career when he tangled with New York LW Sean Bergenheim at the end of the first. Foligno picked up the win by landing more punches. According to hockeyfights.com, itís the first time he has fought since March 28, 2009, when he beat Atlantaís Nathan Oystrick. ďSomeone reminded me I hadnít had (a fight) this year,Ē Foligno said. ďIím a little frustrated and the game wasnít going well and I thought Iíd spark something.Ē ... Ottawa D Andy Sutton was given cross-checking and roughing penalties and a 10-minute misconduct with 13:49 left in the game when he went after Isles LW Jon Sim. The former Islander said he had a long-standing battle with Sim in practice. ďSimmer was doing his thing and I donít like it.Ē
The morning skate
There are more pictures of Senators D Chris Campoli in the hallway near the Islanders dressing room than there are of Denis Potvin. Not sure what that means. Campoli was minus-4 against his old team Saturday ... Senators F Peter Regin is close friends with Isles C Frans Nielsen from their youth hockey days in Denmark. Neilsen talked his old pal out of dropping the gloves with Sim in the first. Sim must have a way of getting under the Sensí skin ... Expect to see Isles C John Tavares get invited to play for Team Canada at the world championship next month in Germany. He has had a solid rookie season and itís doubtful heíd turn down a call from GM Mark Messier and coach Craig MacTavish. The word is Team Canada isnít going to invite anybody who played in the Olympics, which is why Carolinaís Eric Staal is going to be passed up.