Daniel Alfredsson may not be healthy yet, but he took a big step forward yesterday, joining his Senators teammates at practice.
While Alfredsson looked pretty good after having minor surgery to repair a floating bone chip last Friday, the Senators won't rush him back, with six games in 11 days, starting with Phoenix tomorrow and Boston on Saturday -- both at Scotiabank Place.
Alfredsson, wearing a grey jersey usually worn by spares, was used as the Senators' extra forward and left the ice 35 minutes into the workout.
"It was as expected. I skated a little bit (Tuesday) on my own and it felt OK and it was no worse (yesterday morning)," said Alfredsson. "(This weekend) is a possibility, but if it happens or not, I don't know.
'IMPROVING EVERY DAY'
"It's still a bit away to be 100%, but obviously it's improving every day and I'm able to push it a little bit more. So, we'll see. I didn't know what to expect or how long it will take.We'll just take it day-by-day and hopefully there are no setbacks where we have to take a couple of days off.
"I'm not going to be jumping into anything not knowing if it will hold up, but it's going in the right direction."
Getting Alfredsson back would be a boost for the Senators, who are coming off a 3-2 loss to Detroit Saturday, but coach Craig Hartsburg said the decision on whether he plays or not will be made as a group.
Alfredsson has the final say, but the decision will be made in consultation with the club's medical staff, GM Bryan Murray and Hartsburg.
It sounds like the Senators will err on the side of caution because of the surgery.
"You have to trust a guy who has been in the league for a long time and knows his body better than we do," said Hartsburg. "Like I said, we're certainly not going to rush or push him to get back. He wants to play, he's a competitor. As a coach, you can decide if you don't think he's ready. If we were playing (last night) and he told me he wanted to play, I wouldn't put him in because I don't think he's ready to play based on the fact he's had half a practice, but as a group we'll work together on it."
A big factor in the decision will be how Alfredsson's knee reacts this morning and whether he's able to take part in the contact drills in practice.
"I skated for an hour in total (yesterday) and that puts a little more stress on it," said Alfredsson. "But, it feels good now and I hope it will be fine (today). The surgery went really well and I'm getting pretty good treatment every day. It has been holding up well."