Senators hip-notized

Ottawa Senators Daniel Alfredsson celebrates the first goal of the game in front of New York...

Ottawa Senators Daniel Alfredsson celebrates the first goal of the game in front of New York Rangers Henrik Lundqvist and Thomas Pock in the first period at Scotiabank Place Photo by Blair Gable / SUN

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:00 PM ET

As vice-president on the NHLPA executive committee three years ago, Daniel Alfredsson was striving to implement revenue-sharing, free-agent flexibility and payroll taxes.

What he didn't negotiate for but wound up getting out of the new CBA is better hips.

"I've had them in the past, no question," Alfredsson said yesterday of the hip flexor problem that knocked him out of Thursday's game and has his status in doubt for at least tonight's matchup vs. the Lightning at Scotiabank Place. "Not as much post-lockout as pre-lockout. All the hooking and holding really worked your hip flexors a lot more. You had to fight through everything. I can't say I've had a lot of problems with it, but I've had it before."

Alfredsson played just eight shifts and saw 8:34 of ice time in the 5-1 win over the Hurricanes. In the first period, he hit the post with a backhand and then, a little later, felt a twinge high up his left leg.

"A little discomfort," he said. "Sometimes you can just be a little bit off in your body.

"I got some treatment between periods. Tried the first shift, felt not bad. But right before (Randy) Robitaille took his penalty, I tried to jump in there and get the puck and I aggravated it a little bit there.

"Then I just didn't want to push it anymore."

Alfredsson said he would know this morning if he'd be able to play against the Lightning, but indications are he'll miss it and quite possibly tomorrow's game in Philadelphia.

When asked about the potential of having to bow out of next weekend's all-star game, he was optimistic.

"I don't think so," said Alfredsson, who was too sore yesterday to exercise the hip. "I hope it's just a couple of days and I'll be fine. The way it feels right now, it's just day by day."

Alfredsson, who played all 82 games his rookie campaign (1995-96) but never more than 78 in the 10 years since, sat out one game with a groin injury in October.

The rest of the time he's been busy sculpting a Hart Trophy-type season.

Heading into last night's action, Alfredsson was fifth in points with 60, but just three behind co-leaders Ilya Kovalchuk, Vincent Lecavalier and Sidney Crosby.

His 29 goals was the fourth-most in the NHL and, along with the 25 scored by injured teammate Dany Heatley, combined to represented exactly one-third of the Senators' total.

PADDOCK HUFFY

Questions about his captain's status seemed to agitate coach John Paddock, possibly because he hadn't received an update before his meeting with the media.

"If he says he can play, he'll play. If he says he can't he won't," huffed Paddock. "I don't have a clue. I won't be thinking about it until (this morning)."

Picking up the offensive slack for Ottawa with a pair of goals Thursday was Antoine Vermette, and he'll be expected to keep producing. Robitaille, Dean McAmmond, Shean Donovan, Chris Kelly and Patrick Eaves will also be required to chip in more with the club's top scorers out.

Pressure, too, falls on the shoulders of Jason Spezza. Tied for 10th in league scoring, he'll suddenly be the primary concern for opponents who used to focus on Alfredsson and Heatley as well.

"I'm still going to do what I do, make plays," said Spezza.


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