Spezza's day off simply for rest

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:12 PM ET

Senators C Jason Spezza missed practice yesterday, but it was just a case of backing off rather than being off because of his back.

"My back is fine," said Spezza, who had surgery for a herniated disc in early June. "It was just a day off to take care of some bumps and bruises."

Senators coach Bryan Murray said Spezza will play tonight when the Senators wrap up their exhibition schedule in Montreal against the Canadiens.

"I told him to stay off. He's going to play (tonight). The fact that he was hurting a little bit, it was good to stay away from the building," said Murray.

D Anton Volchenkov, who broke the tip of his right middle finger last week, took a short skate yesterday. The hope is he will be ready to play in Wednesday's regular-season opener in Toronto.

"We didn't want him to handle the puck at all or do anything further hurting the finger and the vibration of the stick, taking passes, would have done that. We told him to get a little ice time and then get off," said Murray.

With the club's final cuts looming Monday, the coach said yesterday he wasn't sure what his lineup would look like tonight -- other than G Martin Gerber in net.

"We have a pretty good idea of what we're doing," said Murray in terms of who would be staying and who would be going. "I'm not sure that every regular is playing at this point in time. That's one of the things I want to wait on. Particularly on the blue line, I may want to have a look at one or two people that at the end of the day may not make it, but will get another look."

The plan is also to get D Christoph Schubert into tonight's game, his first of the pre-season as he has battled a virus through camp. His services will be needed Wednesday with D Joe Corvo out indefinitely with a broken foot.

Fs Alexei Kaigorodov and Denis Hamel remain in a battle for the 13th forward position with Hamel holding the edge.

HEATLEY LEANING TO THE LEFT: Senators W Dany Heatley, a 50-goal man last year, switched from right wing back to left in Thursday night's 5-2 win over the Habs here. The move was made at the request of Spezza and Heatley. "They asked me about it. All along I wanted him to be a left winger. They thought him playing the right side was a good thing," said Murray. "Last night they suggested they'd like to go back to the coach's theory. I think it's all about Jason being a right-hand shot and getting the puck more to the left winger. Right now, it's at the players' request more than anything. So you can ask him why he didn't listen to the coach in the first place?" Heatley said he had some success on the right side in Atlanta playing with Marc Savard, a left shot, at centre. After the right side experiment here in camp, Heatley said he found it was harder in some circumstances for Spezza, a right shot, to get him the puck. "I came here as a right winger and (Murray) put me on the left side which was fine. Things went well and we stayed with it," said Heatley. "After the rush, it doesn't really matter because everybody is all over the place. But it is easier (on the left side) on some breakouts."


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