Injuries wreak havoc on Murray

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Bryan Murray is done with the guessing games.

Though Murray is willing to patiently answer questions about the Senators' injuries, he's given up looking into his crystal ball when it comes to predicting their return to the lineup.

"When players tell me they're 100% and they're ready to play, then they'll be back in the lineup," Murray said prior to last night's game against the Rangers.

"Until they return to playing, I'm not going to worry about them and I'm not going to think about them. I've just decided to go with the 20 guys we've got in the lineup every night and those are the guys I am going to focus on."

The injury list was reduced by one with the return of defenceman Anton Volchenkov, but the club was short defenceman Wade Redden, who returned home to Lloydminster, Sask., for family reasons.

Already missing Dominik Hasek, Zdeno Chara, Chris Phillips and Mike Fisher, the loss of Redden was just another blow.

But it sounds like giving daily updates to the media and getting information about the wounded is starting to take its toll on Murray.

"I spend more time in meetings with the training staff talking about injured players than I do talking about the players who are in the lineup for us," said Murray.

Asked to give an update on the status of Havlat -- who is getting ready to return from shoulder surgery -- Murray sounded more than a little perturbed.

"You're going to have to ask Martin Havlat when he's going to be back," said Murray. "It looks like it's going to be a little while longer. He got clearance from the doctor to have some physical contact, but he didn't get clearance to play. I'm not really sure what's happening because I haven't talked to him. I was just told he's not ready to play."

Havlat wasn't concerned with the results of an exam Wednesday in Toronto by shoulder specialist, Dr. Anthony Miniaci, who performed the surgery Dec. 13.

Havlat will meet with Miniaci on April 10. He could get clearance to play and return against the Bruins the next night.

"I would say we're right on track with where it should be," said Havlat. "They said when I had the surgery it was going to be 4-6 months and when I return it will be almost four months.

"I want to get some games in before the playoffs. You want a chance to get your timing back."

Muddled? For sure.

But it's another reason why Murray has decided to stop guessing about the return of the injured players.

Murray had hoped to have Fisher back from an ankle injury against the Rangers, but after a discussion at the morning skate learned he's going to need more time.

"I spend a lot of time answering your questions here," said Murray. "But I don't spend any time in the room talking about injured players.

"At some point or another during the day, the training room becomes a gathering point for the players. That's where they go have their coffee and discuss what is going on with the team. All these players know what's happening with the guys who are injured."

DEPLETED BLUE LINE

No area has been hit harder than the blue line. The depleted corps was propped up last night by Binghamton call-ups Brad Norton and Filip Novak.

Hasek (adductor muscle) made a step in the right direction by skating with equipment for the first time in six weeks and Chara (deep hand bruise) "was handling the puck better than he does in games," according to Murray.

Will everybody be healthy and ready for the playoffs?

Murray believes they will, but he's going to practise patience and wait for the players to tell him they're ready to return.


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