Senators waiting on Wilma

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 1:38 PM ET

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Hurricane Wilma hasn't yet decided whether the Senators are going to stay in the Sunshine State.

Yes, the Senators would rather put safety first, but they'd just as soon play tomorrow night against the Florida Panthers if the hurricane isn't going to hit South Florida until late Sunday or Monday.

Concerns the storm -- which was downgraded to a Category 4 by the National Hurricane Center yesterday -- was going to strike tomorrow night have subsided and the game could be played as scheduled.

NHL VP Bill Daly told the Sun in an e-mail there is still a lot of "uncertainty" on where the storm is headed. The NFL has rescheduled Sunday's Kansas City Chiefs-Miami Dolphins game to tonight.

HOPE TO PLAY FLORIDA

While there's no question tonight's game against the Lightning at the St. Pete Times Forum will be played, the Senators still don't know if they'll be facing old coach Jacques Martin tomorrow for the first time.

And though the Senators are nervous about going into the area with a storm threatening, they'd rather play tomorrow than have to make a trip down here to face Florida on Dec. 5

The Senators' five-day break will end tonight when they face the Lightning and they'll carry a perfect 5-0 record into the game.

"When you're hot, you want to keep playing. There's no question about it. You don't want to have the kind of break in the schedule that we just had," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said following practice.

"You know the league has to be careful with what's happened recently (in New Orleans) and they're going to make the right call because they don't want to put anybody in danger. This is not something you can worry about because you can't do anything about it. As players, we would rather play."

But there are other factors as to why the Senators want play tomorrow night:

- If the game doesn't go ahead, the Senators won't have winger Martin Havlat, who is serving a five-game suspension for kicking Boston defenceman Hal Gill, back until Nov. 2 against the Sabres. As of now, he is scheduled to return Oct. 30 vs. Philly. "If we don't play, then my month is over. That'd be just great," said Havlat.

- Secondly, the Dec. 5 make-up date is just four days before the Senators play in Vancouver. That means the club would have to make a trip down here to play Florida, then head to the West Coast.


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