Senators' foot soldier

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:50 AM ET

Joe Corvo will make his much-anticipated Senators debut here tomorrow night against the Colorado Avalanche -- if his foot improves about oh, 20% or so from what it was yesterday.

"I thought he was skating better ... he looked like a player to me," coach Bryan Murray said of Corvo, who suffered a broken bone Sept. 22, following practice at Scotiabank Place. "I would say, unless he tells me otherwise, we'd hope that he'd be (able to play vs. Colorado)."

While Murray's optimistic assessment came before he had a chance to talk to the player, Corvo was hesitant about declaring himself ready to go.

"I'm feeling better and better ... if I feel 100% by (tomorrow) morning, it's a possibility,"said the smooth skating, hard shooting defenceman -- without explaining why it would only be a "possibility" if he was 100%. "There's still a little pain. I'm kind of waiting for that to go away.

"I don't want to go either way (with a yes or a no)," he added, mentioning Saturday against the New Jersey Devils an alternative to consider. "I don't know how I'm going to feel on Thursday. If you want a percentage, it's probably like 80-20. I feel I'm getting there pretty fast."

While penciling Corvo into the lineup, those watching yesterday's drills erased the name Wade Redden when the team's top defenceman left the session 20 minutes in. However, Redden would later say his tender groin would not keep him out of the Colorado game.

Peter Schaefer also predicted he'd be playing, despite leaving practice with a hip flexor that's been giving him trouble since training camp.

"It's on and off," Schaefer said. "It's hard to get it fully recovered practising, and with the games. I just left a little early to kind of let it heal up as much as I can before we get into a busier schedule."

NEAR BASEMENT

The Senators can ill afford to lose anybody -- particularly their better players --with the way they're going. A 3-2 win Saturday in Montreal snapped a three-game losing skid, but as of yesterday 2-3 Ottawa was just a point out of the Eastern Conference basement.

For sure it's too early to get nervous -- just as points lost now could come back to haunt any team in what should be a tight playoff race.

Corvo, who led Los Angeles Kings defencemen with a plus-15 mark to go along with his 14 goals last season, is expected to help a Senators power play that has scored just once in 30 tries.

"I can envision him shooting the puck under the crossbar on a regular basis," Murray said with a smile. "That would be very good."

The addition of Corvo would take heat off Redden, who, with 30:09 of ice time played, had almost eight minutes more than the next busiest Sens defenceman (Chris Phillips) Saturday.

" "He's that type of player that brings a lot of energy, a lot of intensity and stuff," said Redden. "I think he's eager to get going.

"A guy like that coming back and adding a spark is going to be good."

Corvo tried a foot guard that didn't wear completely to his liking yesterday and hopes to have a better one by the time he does return.

"Eventually, you're going to play," he said when asked how anxious he is to play his first game as a Senator.

"I missed the home opener ... I was excited to see something like that here. At this point, just seeing that the team isn't having the most success, it gets harder and harder to watch games, because I'd like to help.

"I want to get in there. It'd be nice getting my first game in against a team I've played a lot, Colorado. I know what they're all about."


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