Sens' injuries just sick

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- Daniel Alfredsson is proving to be a quick healer.

After a hit from behind by Dallas winger Jere Lehtinen knocked Alfredsson out of Ottawa's 5-4 OT victory on Saturday, the captain flew here with the Senators yesterday intent on playing tonight.

Alfredsson, who skipped practice yesterday, will skate this morning at the Wachovia Center before deciding if he can suit up against the Flyers.

Alfredsson sounded optimistic he'd play when he addressed the media in the lobby of the club's hotel in Philadelphia. He said he's made great strides in the last 48 hours.

"I'm hoping to play. That's the about the only way I can put it. Until I really skate, I can't tell for sure," said Alfredsson, who is well aware the Senators need a victory as they begin an eight-game road trip. "If that wasn't the case I wouldn't be here. I am hoping to play.

"It's been getting better and better every day. I will try to skate and then, hopefully, play. It's settled down pretty good. I'm moving around much better as well. That's why I decided to make the trip. That's why I'm going to skate and go from there."

Alfredsson wasn't the only one missing at practice yesterday. Blueliner Filip Kuba (lower body) left the bench late in the game against the Stars and it's believed he's sidelined with a groin injury. Christoph Schubert will return to the blue line while Kuba is out.

Winger Dany Heatley wasn't around because of the flu, but made the trip and is expected to play. Centre Dean McAmmond, who has missed 11 games with pneumonia, also accompanied the club and should be ready to return.

Kuba, who was acquired with Alex Picard and a No. 1 pick in the deal that sent Andrej Meszaros to Tampa in September, has been the Senators' top defenceman this season, recording 22 points in 30 games. He is the closest thing the Senators have to a puck-moving defenceman.

"It's certainly not good to have him out of the lineup. He's been our best and probably most consistent player back there," said Senators coach Craig Hartsburg. "You know what? Every team goes through it. Other people get opportunities. Schubert gets a chance to play.

"Everybody has to pick their whole game up. It's part of the league. Everybody misses players and we're no different than anybody else. He's out (tonight). I don't know if it's long term, but he certainly won't play (vs. the Flyers)."

Still, the challenge will be a little more difficult without Kuba.

"He's brought a lot of different things. Obviously, he's done a lot on the power play and he does a lot of the simple, little things in our end. He's done a good job moving the puck out of our end and he's a big guy at blocking shots," said Senators goalie Alex Auld.

Since the Senators weren't sure of the status of their injured and sick players, nobody was recalled from the club's AHL affiliate in Binghamton.


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