Giant step for Dom

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:53 AM ET

Dominik Hasek made a monumental step forward on the road to recovery.

At 10:04 a.m. yesterday, the Senators' No. 1 goalie skated out in full equipment and later took shots from winger Chris Neil.

Recovering from an adductor muscle injury suffered Feb. 15 at the Olympics, Hasek was on the ice for 30 minutes and looked good.

"He knew he was ready for shots and told me to start shooting the puck at him. It was good to see. I thought he looked pretty good out there," said Neil.

Though the shots were light at first, Hasek was trying to give his injury as good a test as possible. He went up and down and side to side in the crease. He even took part in a rapid-fire drill with Neil and Zdeno Chara, with most of the shots kept at waist level.

"I did everything I wanted to do out there," said Hasek, who had a short discussion with trainer Gerry Townend midway through the session. "I'm not quite comfortable with everything just yet. I don't quite feel comfortable with going up and down. Hopefully, that will get better in the next few days and I'll be able to practise with the team more and get to take more shots."

It was a promising sign, but Senators GM John Muckler was being cautious.

"I hope everything goes well," said Muckler. "That's a positive step. Let's leave it at that."

INJURY UPDATES: D Anton Volchenkov returned to the lineup last night against Buffalo ... W Martin Havlat is expected to get clearance from Dr. Tony Miniaci of Cleveland tomorrow to return from shoulder surgery ... There's a strong belief that if Chara's hand injury continues to progress, he could be back in the lineup before the end of the week ... D Chris Phillips skated for the second straight day.

BRUCE.GARRIOCH@OTT.SUNPUB.COM


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