A-Train derailed

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

The only real surprise is it took this long for Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov to suffer a serious injury.

Volchenkov, the devil-may-care, shot-blocking machine, will be lost to the Senators for a month with a broken right index finger.

And the Senators, stuck in a five-game funk, aren't going to have much time to learn to live without one of their top shutdown defencemen as they prepare to face Jaromir Jagr and the Rangers today at 2 p.m. at Scotiabank Place.

"It's kind of disappointing," said Volchenkov. "There's nothing you can do about it. Sometimes you (block shots) and you don't get hurt. This time, it's just bad luck."

While the Senators had the option of recalling either blueliner Brian Lee or Lawrence Nycholat from Binghamton, GM Bryan Murray and coach John Paddock have decided to slide winger Christoph Schubert back to his preferred position.

TIME TO SHINE

Paddock said this is Schubert's time to shine. Schubert has told the coaching staff he would prefer to be a full-time blueliner and the Senators are going to give him a chance to seize the opportunity.

Volchenkov was playing an average of 20:45 a game alongside Chris Phillips, who will pair with Schubert.

"Schubert is just going to have to take those minutes," said Paddock. "(Andrej Meszaros) and Wade (Redden) play a lot of minutes already because they have power-play time. This is a big challenge for the group.

"It's an opportunity for Schubie to step up and show he's capable of doing the job. Last year, we had a game in New York (against the Rangers) where (Volchenkov) didn't play and Schubie played beside Phillips all night against Jagr and Jagr didn't get a sniff."

Schubert said it's going to be an adjustment because he hasn't played much defence this season.

"I've never been shy to say that I want to play on 'D' so I think now that the opportunity is here I want to make the best of it. I want to prove that I can be a top-six (defenceman) on this team," said Schubert.

"It shouldn't be (a big adjustment), but it's not as easy as it looks. Going back and forth is not that easy, it's not like a beer league.

"Yes, I play on power play and (penalty killing) once in a while, but my mindset is to just keep it simple on the first couple of shifts. I'm not putting too much pressure on myself. I know I'm able to do it."

Phillips isn't concerned about having a different point partner but admits he'll miss playing with the A-Train.

"You get used to playing with one guy. Things are going to change a bit and we'll deal with it, but it's certainly a tough blow for the team," Phillips said of losing Volchenkov.

Perhaps the guys who will miss Volchenkov the most are goaltenders Martin Gerber and Ray Emery.

Volchenkov, who leads the NHL with 96 blocked shots this season, saves them both a lot of work.

"To play the way he does, sometimes it scares me, it's a bit of a suicide watch out there," said Gerber. "That's the way he plays. He's really good at it and he's one of a kind."


Videos

Photos