Sens will Wade and see

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

Wade Redden isn't taking any chances this time.

Neither is Jason Spezza.

The two Senators stars will test their various wounds today at the morning skate, but are unlikely to be in uniform tonight when the Senators face the sizzling Dallas Stars at the Corel Centre.

"It's getting better, but not as good as I'd like. It's getting close," said Redden of his injured knee, which he tweaked while trying to come back last weekend.

"I took a step back pushing it last time. I want to make sure it's ready to go. I want to be sure I don't reinjure it and be sure I can do what I've got to do to play. I don't want to rush it and be out another three weeks."

Redden has missed the last nine games with the knee strain and the Senators have posted a 6-1-2 record in his absence.

The Senators' top puck-handling defenceman said some of the inclination to rush back has been relieved by the fine play of youngsters like Andrej Meszaros (quietly positioning himself for a spot on the all-rookie team), Anton Volchenkov and Christoph Schubert and the ability of top pair Zdeno Chara and Chris Phillips to eat up Redden's minutes.

"All the guys are stepping up, so it makes it a little easier," said Redden.

Spezza, who has slipped to third in team scoring behind linemates Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley, is nursing a sore hip.

"It's still day-to-day. We're making progress and we'll make a decision (today)," said Spezza, who tried to play through it Saturday in Calgary before resting it Monday in the win over the Colorado Avalanche.

"It's been lingering, so we'd rather get it fixed now. They really don't want to rush it. We've got a long, tough stretch coming up."

Spezza said he isn't worried that missing games now will hurt his chances of making the Canadian Olympic team which will be named next Wednesday in Vancouver.

"This team is the most important thing," he said of the Senators. "I want to be prepared for a long playoff run."

Senators coach Bryan Murray said players aren't helping the team by trying to play through injuries. "If guys are struggling to just get by, that's not good enough," he said.

SMOLINSKI STEPS UP

It hasn't hurt that in the absence of Spezza, veteran Bryan Smolinski stepped up with a good game between Heatley and Alfredsson (they combined for eight points against Colorado). Kids like Brandon Bochenski (five goals in six games since his callup from Binghamton) and Patrick Eaves (three goals in his last four games) have made solid contributions in the absence of winger Martin Havlat, likely out for the rest of the regular season after undergoing shoulder surgery.

There was some good news on the injury front yesterday.

Centre Chris Kelly missed yesterday's practice with a sore foot after blocking a shot in Colorado, but said he should be at his post tonight.


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