Sens Wade into trouble

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

A tough few days for the Senators just got tougher.

Senators defenceman Wade Redden, their best blueliner this season, will be lost to the club for at least a week after spraining his knee in practice yesterday.

Redden, fourth among NHL defencemen and fourth on the Senators in scoring, is due to miss four games: Tomorrow vs. the Islanders, Saturday vs. the Bruins, Tuesday vs. the Canadiens and the Bruins, again, a week from today.

"It's disappointing the way it happened," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "It was the last 1-on-1 drill of the day."

Redden got tangled up with centre Mike Fisher and left the ice.

After an almost trouble-free start to the season, the Senators are being challenged both emotionally and physically now.

The Senators are already without winger Chris Neil, having a career year, who is dealing with the death of his mother, Bonnie, in a car accident Tuesday.

SMOLINSKI TO RETURN

Winger Martin Havlat said yesterday a hamstring injury will likely keep him out of tomorrow's game. He was forced to abandon his attempt to play Tuesday night after one period.

On a positive note, centre Bryan Smolinski, who missed Tuesday's 5-3 win over the Hurricanes with a bruised chest, will return to play.

Apart from a five-game suspension to Havlat earlier this season, the Senators haven't really had to deal with an extended absence of any of their top-flight players.

"I guess it always seems to go like that," said Murray. "If you have one, you have a number."

Defenceman Christoph Schubert, who played up front in Neil's absence Tuesday and scored his first NHL goal, will go back to the blue line tomorrow. He'll likely play in Redden's spot with Anton Volchenkov, leaving the other two duos (Zdeno Chara-Chris Phillips and Andrej Meszaros-Brian Pothier) intact.

The Senators will likely recall either Brandon Bochenski or Patrick Eaves for tomorrow's game. The Binghamton Senators were at Rochester last night and at home to Syracuse tonight.

You can't replace a guy like Redden, however, who plays in all situations. He scored against the 'Canes Tuesday night on the power play. He now has four goals and 17 assists and is +19, second-best on the team and tied with Meszaros for tops among Senators defencemen.


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