Back's a pain for Redden

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

Only 15 minutes into practice yesterday, Wade Redden left the ice and went straight to the training room.

The Senators defenceman, who was bothered by a sore back on the bus ride home from Montreal on Saturday night following a 2-1 victory over the Canadiens, didn't take any chances and sought treatment with the start of the regular season only nine days away.

While Redden wasn't scheduled to play tonight against the Maple Leafs in Toronto, he's confident he'll be ready to play against the Flyers tomorrow night at Scotiabank Place.

"It seized up a bit. I wasn't feeling good so I got off and got some treatment," said Redden. "It just stiffened up and it was a little tight. I just thought it was better for me to get off the ice. I got stretched out good and I've got the day off (today), so I should be ready to play (against the Flyers)."

Redden, who suffered through a groin injury and a subpar season in 2006-07, said he has had to deal with back problems in the past.

"Historically, I've probably had back (issues) when I get tired or working hard, it's probably the one thing that gives (you difficulty) first," said Redden. "But it's not a big issue. It's strength and there's little exercises I do to get it back on track. That's what I've got to do over the next couple of days ... just get it stretched out good."

Redden isn't the only one hurting.

Centre Mike Fisher, who practised with the club Thursday, hasn't been on the ice with the team since.

The Senators hope he can play a pre-season game before the regular season begins next week.

"There's nothing new," said Senators coach John Paddock. "I am hopeful and expecting (Fisher is) going to play on the weekend and if he's not, then we'll have somebody step in. But I'm hopeful he will be."

SPEZZA FLYING: C Jason Spezza will suit up tonight against the Leafs and count Paddock among those happy with the way Spezza's performed in camp. Spezza had a goal and assist against the Habs on Saturday. "He's come in and his fitness level is probably back to where it was about three years ago and it's showing," said Paddock. "He's hungry. He's probably hungry for a couple of reasons: With where the team was at last year and, obviously, his impending restricted free agency." Spezza said he worked hard in the summer to get ready for camp and changed his program by working on the track two times a week. "I trained pretty hard and I feel like we're going in the right direction," said Spezza. "It was a short summer and you didn't get too much out of shape because you can't take too much time off. I feel good and I feel healthy." Spezza, who is making $4.5 million US this season, knows this is a big year because of his contract status, but noted he faces the same pressure at the start of every year. "Every year seems like a big year," said Spezza. "Last year, I just signed a big contract and I had to prove what I was worth. This year is a contract year and I've got to get a new contract and we're trying to get back to the final. That's the beauty of it. When you are on a good hockey club, there's always a challenge. You always have the feeling that this is the biggest year of your career coming in. That's definitely how I feel."

OFF THE GLASS: The Senators, who still have 35 players in camp, are going to make cuts on Wednesday. GM Bryan Murray said the club needs to get down in numbers so that work can begin for the start of the regular season. It's expected the Senators will call up players from their AHL affiliate in Binghamton on Sunday to play in the 5 p.m. exhibition game against the Capitals ... Paddock said he will likely start G Martin Gerber against the Leafs tonight and play him for the full 60 minutes. Rookie G Brian Elliott will dress as the backup.


Photos