ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Mike Fisher couldn't hide the look of frustration on his face yesterday.
"No, not (tonight)," said the Senators centre when asked if he'd be in the lineup against the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning at St. Pete Times Forum.
The gritty centre was only supposed to be day-to-day with a sprained left shoulder injury he suffered Oct. 10 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. But Fisher will miss his third straight game tonight.
That means whether the Senators play tomorrow in Fort Lauderdale or not against the Florida Panthers, Fisher won't be back in the lineup until Monday's matchup with the Carolina Hurricanes.
"The strength is just not there and I don't really have anything on my shot," said Fisher after a practice at the Lightning's facility in Brandon, Fla. "It just hasn't come along the way I expected.
"I'm hoping it's going to be fine (for Monday) and it has made a lot of improvements. I've got to be careful because I've had surgery on this shoulder before and you don't want to rush anything. I want to make sure that I'm healed properly so that I can do what I am able to do when I want."
Fisher said the only good news is it's still early in the season and the Senators have a light schedule. Winger Patrick Eaves was recalled from the club's AHL affiliate in Binghamton and joined the club last night.
"I would rather have this happen now than have something happen late in the season," said Fisher. "I'll be able to get back and there will be a lot of hockey left to be played.
"I just need to get the strength back because I can barely shoot the puck."
Coach Bryan Murray said Fisher's progress has been slower than expected.
"He's made a lot of improvements, but he's just not there yet," said Murray.
VOLCHENKOV TO OLYMPICS: Senators D Anton Volchenkov will suit up for Russia at the Turin Olympics in February. Volchenkov said he received a call from Russia GM Sergei Nemchinov, a former NHLer, a couple of days ago and quickly accepted the invitation. "I'm looking forward to going," said Volchenkov. "They asked me if I would go and I said yes right away because I've never had the chance to play there." There is a story circulating that a power struggle within the Russian Olympic squad may prevent some of the country's better players from attending, but Volchenkov doesn't seem worried. "There's always going to be problems with the Russian team. That's the way it is all the time," said Volchenkov with a smile.
AROUND THE BOARDS: Murray has warned the players they had better be ready every night this season because they are going to be a target. "I've told these guys that we have a bull's eye on our heads and people are going to be gunning for us," said Murray. "We have to be prepared to go hard every night because teams are going to be trying to shut us down." .... W Vaclav Varada, who is ready to make his return to the lineup after missing five weeks with a right MCL strain, skated on the fourth line in practice yesterday with C Chris Kelly and RW Brian McGrattan ... The Lightning are finding out how difficult it can be to play the role of defending Stanley Cup champions. The club went into last night against Atlanta with a 3-2-2 record in seven games. "There's probably still a bit of a hangover there from winning the Cup," said Murray. "I know it can be difficult. The year we went to the final in Anaheim, we came back the next year and we found it tough for us."