The walking wounded

BRUCE GARRIOCH, OTTAWA SUN

, Last Updated: 8:35 AM ET

Mike Fisher limped down the hallway at Scotiabank Place, a ball cap pulled down and grim look on his face.

The Senators centre was sent for further testing on the left knee injury he suffered late in the third period of Wednesday's 2-0 victory over the New York Islanders and he won't be in the lineup tonight against the New York Rangers.

In fact, the injury, perhaps similar to the one suffered by Jason Spezza last week, is likely to keep Fisher out of action for 4-6 weeks.

While no surgery will be needed from the hit he took along the boards from defenceman Radek Martinek, Fisher confirmed there is damage to the MCL.

"It's frustrating for sure. I was excited to be getting a bit more of a role with (Spezza) out," said Fisher. "What are you going to do? It's another injury I can't control. It's one of those things. I just gotta worry about getting back and having a good attitude and working as hard as I can."

HARD-NOSED STYLE

Fisher, 26, has missed games because of injuries to both of his knees during his seven-year career. He has never played a full season, largely because of his hard-nosed style.

The Senators were hoping Fisher would be able to fill the No. 1 role between Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson with Spezza out of the lineup. The trio of Fisher, Heatley and Alfredsson looked good in the two games they did play together. Chris Kelly will to get his chance in that role against the Rangers.

KELLY ON TOP LINE

"Now, Chris Kelly doesn't want to play centre with those two guys, he's afraid of getting banged up," said coach Bryan Murray in a halfhearted attempt at a joke."It's very disappointing when you lose (Spezza) to start off with and then you lose Fisher, who had a real priority role on the hockey team and the line looked like they were really playing hard and well together."

That's why Murray chatted with the players at centre ice at the end of yesterday's practice.

After hosting the Rangers, the Senators fly to Toronto to face the Leafs tomorrow at Air Canada Centre. Then the Atlanta Thrashers visit Ottawa New Year's Day for a 3 p.m. game.

"I just said at the end of practice: 'We have to focus on being prepared to play the game,' " said Murray. "We know we're not going to be very productive at times in scoring goals so we have to be productive in playing defence and working hard and keeping as many shots on the perimeter as we can.

DEFENCE INVOLVED

"Hopefully we'll find a way to get our defence involved in scoring goals."

The Senators did a good job keeping the Isles' chances to a minimum, but they've got a bigger test with high-flying Rangers Jaromir Jagr and Martin Straka in town.

"I thought we did a good job in our own end (against the Isles)," said Heatley. "As a group, we have to be real solid and not take any chances."

"A huge blow for us right now," Alfredsson said of Fisher's injury. "You take Spezza out and then Fisher. He brings so much energy."


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