Carkner's dealt a bad hand

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:59 AM ET

A broken left hand has forced defenceman Matt Carkner to punch out of Senators camp.

The Winchester native learned yesterday he'll be sidelined indefinitely after suffering the injury while duking it out with Philadelphia Flyers prospect Riley Cote on Tuesday night in London.

The 26-year-old had been penned for a spot with the club's AHL affiliate in Binghamton and was looking to show in camp he was worthy of being a callup.

"I was just trying to establish my game," said Carkner, who will likely be gone a minimum of six weeks as a result of the break.

"I've been doing this for a long time and it's just very unfortunate. It's disappointing. I'm in my hometown. I definitely wanted to make a good impression. I'll just have to work hard to get back."

Carkner said he doesn't have any regrets about the fight.

"At this time of year, you're trying to make an impression with the coaches and guys are out there trying to do their job," said Carkner.

"(Tuesday), Cote stepped in after I made a hit on (Steve) Downie, so he was just doing his job. I would have traded a broken nose for a broken hand for sure. I wished he would have hit me. But, that's the way it worked.

"It's tough to deal with right now."

NIKULIN BLOGS DOWN

Prospect Alexander Nikulin, who will make his pre-season debut tonight, has been keeping the fans back home informed with a regular blog on a Russian website. The 22-year-old centre described the hockey in rookie camp in Kitchener as "primitive," but generally he's been impressed with everything.

In fact, Nikulin had planned to return to Russia if he didn't make the Senators, but is considering playing with the club's AHL affiliate in Binghamton to learn the North American game. A fan has been translating and posting Nikulin's blogs on the Sportsnet web site. "During the first practice I met (Dany) Heatley and (Jason) Spezza. Turns out Dany speaks a bit of Russian. He knows three phrases: 'How are you?', 'Good evening,' and, what's remarkable, he hinted, 'Shoot more.' Probably learned from (former Thrashers teammate) Ilya Kovalchuk," said Nikulin. "Spezza skated up to me and began talking about my stick blade. He really likes it and plays with the same kind, only right-handed. Jason started explaining something, but I said I don't understand English. He said 'Okay' and skated away." Nikulin had a funny first impression of tough rookie Jeremy Yablonski, who fought Chris Neil in the Black and White game on unday. "By the way, a guy came to camp for the 'policeman' role," said Nikulin. "He used to be in cage fighting. Square kind of guy, huge. During the intrasquad game he fought a local colleague. Had a good battle. A few punches were landed."

OFF THE GLASS

The Senators will start making decisions on the future of some players sometime soon. The club's AHL affiliate opens camp Saturday in Binghamton, which means some of the 48 players are going to be moved out in the next couple of days. A lot will depend on the status of C Mike Fisher (groin), C Dean McAmmond (groin) and RW Niko Dimitrakos (hip). "The veterans have indicated to me that they'd like to play five exhibition games to be ready for the season, so we're going to have to see how we're going to work that," said Senators coach John Paddock ... RW Patrick Eaves will skate with Heatley and Spezza tonight against the Caps. The Senators want to see if Eaves is capable of playing with the two stars. Nikulin will centre Antoine Vermette and Daniel Alfredsson, while Nick Foligno, Chris Kelly and Shean Donovan will be on the third line and Cody Bass, Josh Hennessy and Brian McGrattan will make up the club's fourth unit ... Expect to see RW Alexander Ovechkin in the lineup tonight ... Paddock said there's a chance that G Brian Elliott will play part of the game, but final decisions won't be made until this morning.


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