Agon-knee and ecstasy

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

One game, one casualty. The Senators will have to figure out how to replace winger Vaclav Varada, who will be out for the next six weeks after leaving Sunday's 5-2 win over the Maple Leafs with a right knee injury.

Senators coach Bryan Murray told reporters that Varada, who had earlier blocked a shot, twisted his knee when he got caught up on a play near the boards.

It should be noted it is not the same knee that forced him to miss 52 games during the 2003-04 season.

"He was pretty sore when he left the game," said Murray. "He's a gritty guy, but hopefully we've got some other guys here who are going to be able to step up."

The loss of Varada is a tough blow, but it'll give an opportunity to some other players in camp -- including Chris Kelly, Denis Hamel and Brandon Bochenski -- with the Senators ready to start making cuts.

Murray and GM John Muckler are expected to start sitting down with some of the 49 players today to begin moving them out. Some will return to junior hockey teams and others will go to Binghamton.

"By the time we leave (tomorrow), we could be down in some numbers because I'm pretty sure we're going to re-assign some guys before we play in Binghamton (vs. Pittsburgh) Friday," said Murray.

Hamel and Kelly will be given an opportunity to play this weekend in back-to-back games against the Penguins, but a player who has already made an impression is Bochenski.

Bochenski has been reunited with Jason Spezza, who he played alongside last year in Binghamton (scoring 35 goals). The pair have been lining up with Dany Heatley. Alongside the dynamic duo, Bochenski had a goal and an assist against Toronto.

"I've got seven games left in the pre-season to keep showing what I can do," said Bochenski. "If I don't show that I belong here when those seven games are over, then I don't deserve to be here."

Since Bochenski is a goal scorer, Murray wants to give him every opportunity to make the team. He'll leave the line of Spezza-Bochenski-Heatley alone for now, but there are concerns about who is going to take care of the defensive responsibilities.

"If we've got the puck that might be the best defence we can have," said Spezza.

Muckler is a Bochenski fan.

"I believe he's improved his skating," said Muckler. "The one thing you know about this guy is he can score goals and he's done it at every level he has been at. You can teach a guy to play defence. Goal scoring is a skill you can't teach."


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