Injury nagging Spezza

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:49 PM ET

WASHINGTON -- It was a good news, bad news kind of day on the injury front for the Senators yesterday.

First, the bad news:

- Senators centre Jason Spezza, who returned from a chest injury that forced him to miss five games, listed himself as doubtful for tonight's game against the Washington Capitals after taking treatment at the club's hotel.

"If the game were (yesterday), I don't think I'd be playing," said Spezza. "It's not 100% yet. We wanted to try it out because you don't know how something is until you have a chance to play in a game. Obviously, I'm not there yet and we know that now.

"We're going to see how it reacts to treatment and then make a decision (today) on whether I'm going to play or not. We'll have to see how it goes. It's a long season and I don't think we're really in a situation where you want to rush guys back. We've got lots of depth in the organization."

MARTINS RECALLED

Naturally, that doesn't sound good. As a precaution, centre Steve Martins was recalled from the club's AHL affiliate in Binghamton.

Now, the good news:

- Goalie Dominik Hasek, who pulled up lame with a sore back during the warmup before the Senators' 8-3 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers on Monday, said yesterday he was feeling much better after treatment and hasn't ruled out playing tonight.

"I feel much better. I think I'll be ready to play. I cannot say for sure, but I think I'll be ready," said Hasek, who didn't participate in the club's off-ice workout.

If Hasek is healthy, he will start. If not, it's back to Ray Emery, who gave up eight goals on 27 shots against the Thrashers.

- Captain Daniel Alfredsson, who cracked a rib after taking a shot from defenceman Zdeno Chara last Friday against the Isles, was feeling much better yesterday and took part in a gym workout at the Corel Centre.

There was some talk that Alfredsson might return to skating with winger Brandon Bochenski (shoulder), but that session was cancelled. There is no timetable for Alfredsson's return, but this is being treated as good news and will be much better once he can return to the ice. However, he isn't expected to join the team in Montreal for Saturday's game against the Canadiens.

"I just know that he was feeling much better and we're going to have to see," said coach Bryan Murray.

A LOOK AT OVECHKIN: The Senators will get their first live glimpse of rookie wunderkind Alexander Ovechkin tonight at the MCI Center. And, say those who have seen the flashy Russian winger, the Senators are not going to be disappointed. "When I go to scout a game, I'm supposed to watch all the players. Well, I sometimes have to catch myself because I find that my eyes are sometimes glued to him," said Ottawa pro scout Nick Polano, who is accompanying the club on this road trip with GM John Muckler at the world junior championships in Vancouver. "He's just that exciting to watch. I like everything about (Ovechkin). He's a smart player and he can do so much with the puck. He plays with a lot of determination and a lot of grit. He's a great two-way player. There's no question that you have to be aware when he is on the ice." Ovechkin, who has points in six straight games, was named the NHL's offensive player-of-the-week Monday and the rookie-of-the-month for December yesterday. He had four goals and three assists in four games for the Caps last week. "I'd say that if you watch this guy, you know that he's a franchise player," said Polano. "He's just such a tremendous offensive player and you can tell that he knows what it takes in this game to be successful. He's the real deal. I don't think there's any question about it." Ovechkin is challenging Pittsburgh centre Sidney Crosby for the NHL's rookie-of-the-year honours. "I don't know whether Ovechkin or Crosby is going to get it because they're both excellent players, but I know I wouldn't want to have to choose between them," said Polano.


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