Alfie's still not at full speed

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It's a wonder more Senators haven't been hurt this season, what with the wild rollercoaster ride the team is on.

Trying to build on Tuesday's victory -- ending a three-game losing streak, which began after a four game winning streak -- Ottawa is unlikely to get captain Daniel Alfredsson back for this evening's meeting with the Central Division-leading Predators.

But Alfredsson, who strained a hip muscle four games ago, isn't about to write off a return at the Gaylord Entertainment Center just yet.

"We'll see how it is (this morning) and go from there," he said after yesterday's practice, in which he again was a full participant.

"I don't know if I'll be ready (tonight). It keeps getting better but I still can't go forward at full speed."

Coach Bryan Murray wasn't even that optimistic.

"It doesn't look promising," said Murray.

While Alfredsson helps in numerous areas, Murray is anxious for him to again give the Senators a legitimate, secondary scoring threat.

Missing Wade Redden for what tonight will be a seventh straight game hasn't helped matters, either.

"We want to be more consistent," said Murray, who has watched the Senators score just eight goals in their last four games.

Balanced teams

"But I think what you're seeing is some pretty balanced hockey clubs. To get on a roll is difficult, especially when you're missing some good players."

Brian McGrattan, who missed Tuesday's game with a cut on his hand, practised yesterday and told Murray he can hold his stick.

"But that's not why we put him in the lineup," deadpanned Murray.

Defenceman Anton Volchenkov missed practice with unspecified soreness, but is expected to play.

Left winger Peter Schaefer is expected to play too, despite the fact an infection in his left eye seems too be spreading into his right.


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