WASHINGTON -- The Senators could be without their captain for an extended period.
Daniel Alfredsson wasn't in the lineup last night against the Washington Capitals and he'll be sent for an MRI today in Ottawa to find out the extent of the damage of what's believed to be a hip injury he suffered Tuesday.
But Senators coach Bryan Murray, who followed the club policy of referring to the ailment as a "lower body" injury, conceded Alfredsson will be out at least 7-10 days and probably more, though he admitted the Senators won't know for sure until further testing is done.
Alfredsson was injured early in the third period of the Sens' 4-2 victory over the Islanders Tuesday on a hit by defenceman Tom Poti. The Senators are already without defenceman Wade Redden, who hasn't returned since suffering a shoulder/chest injury last week.
'TOO EARLY TO SAY'
"I don't know how long, but until I see the doctor (today), I think it's too early to say. It's sore today," said Alfredsson. "I felt something right away in my lower body and I had a tough time getting up and just getting off the ice. I knew right away I wasn't going to be able to finish the game.
"The doctor will probably test it out, bend it here and there to see what exactly it is. It feels the same as it did (Tuesday). It's not worse and it's not any better. But, like I said before, until I see the doctor, it's too early to say."
Losing Alfredsson, who has had problems with his hip in the past, is a big blow for the Senators. The club recalled winger Danny Bois from its AHL affiliate in Binghamton, but he was brought in to play a fourth-line role.
"It looks like it's going to be a little bit of time but beyond that, I can't tell you much," said Murray. "But last year, he cracked a rib and we thought he was out forever and he was back in a quick period of time.
"I don't know time-frame wise and I don't even pretend to know. I wish I could tell you more, that's where we're at right now."
What's bothersome to the Senators is Alfredsson was just starting to roll on a line with Peter Schaefer and Antoine Vermette. Patrick Eaves was moved up to play with Schaefer and Vermette last night, while Dean McAmmond shifted beside Mike Fisher and Chris Neil.
"You're always afraid of injuries catching you just when you get it going a bit," said Murray. "Obviously, he's a real key guy. He helps that line a great deal and he's a skill guy that has the puck a lot. I think the other two guys benefit from his skill and ability, so it does set us back a little bit in that area."
But Caps goalie Olaf Kolzig didn't sound disappointed to avoid Alfredsson.
"I'm not sorry not to see him (last night)," said Kolzig with a wide smile. "Even without (Alfredsson), they're still a dangerous team. But he's their heart and soul guy, he's their leader because he's been there the longest."
NO LAUGHING MATTER: Washington LW Alex Ovechkin didn't back down yesterday from accusations the Senators were "laughing" at the Caps when they built a 3-0 early lead in a 4-3 Caps' OT victory on Nov. 6. While the Senators have denied the claims, Ovechkin told the Washington Times that Ottawa wasn't showing the Caps any respect and its attitude helped fuel Washington's comeback. Yesterday, he was tight-lipped when approached by the Sun about the matter. "Forget it. Right now it doesn't matter," said Ovechkin. "People will laugh if they want to laugh. We just have to worry about (last night's game). Whether it was months ago or 10 years ago, it's history, it doesn't matter." But which player was doing the laughing? "I don't know who it was," said Ovechkin. "Whether you win 10-0 or 2-0, you have to respect your opponent. I can tell you that it doesn't matter who laughed."