Alfie makes jaw-dropping recovery

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Add another chapter to Daniel Alfredsson's "Tales of Improbable Comebacks."

The Senators captain returned to the lineup for yesterday's 5-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens after sitting out just one game with a fractured jaw.

Just a couple of days after he said he would be out for at least a week, there was Alfredsson on the ice against the Habs.

He wore what amounted to a full face shield after a piece protecting the lower half of his face was added to the visor he normally wears. He ended up with an assist on the Senators' last goal.

Alfredsson decided to jump on the bus bringing the Senators here Friday and, after talking to the team medical staff, decided to play yesterday morning.

He was asked after the game if he rushed to come back to help keep the Senators' slim chance of making the playoffs alive.

"I don't know. I think you always try to come back as quick as you can, no matter the situation," he said. "I know the consequences if something happens. When you make the decision, you weigh the pros and cons and I felt comfortable playing.

"I talked to the doctors and they explained what can happen if I took another blow. Then it was up to me."

Alfredsson said it would be a month before the small fracture on the left side of his jaw would be fully healed.

"I can handle the pain," he said. "You just don't throw yourself into the boards the way you would (normally)."

Alfredsson's teammates continue to be amazed at how he can bounce back from injuries. This is a guy who came back from knee surgery earlier this year after just 10 days of recuperation.

"No one really expected him to play. We knew he was coming on the trip, then he throws a cage on and he played a good game," said Senators centre Mike Fisher.

"He wanted to give it a shot," said Senators coach Cory Clouston.

"It shows his character and the type of person he is."

Clouston didn't ease him in, either.

Alfredsson played 21 minutes and 11 seconds, second-most among the forwards (Dany Heatley led with 22:22).

Alfredsson started the game and it looked like Habs rookie Max Pacioretty said something to him as they lined up for the opening faceoff, but Alfredsson said he didn't hear anything.

Near the end of the first shift, Pacioretty finished off a hit on Alfredsson just inside the Montreal line by getting his elbow up near the side of Alfredsson's head.

There didn't seem to be any close calls after that.

Now Alfredsson will have a couple of days to rest and recover some more before the Senators host the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night.

HEAR AND THERE

Senators forward Chris Kelly had awful luck with his sticks yesterday. Twice he had his stick break during a penalty kill, and the Canadiens wound up scoring goals both times when Mathieu Schneider and then Patrice Brisebois were allowed to wind up and rip shots in on the stick side. "It was just one of those nights," said Kelly. "On one of them, I blocked a shot and a stick is going to break when that happens. On the other one, I was battling down low and it broke. Usually that doesn't happen. They just happened to break at bad points in the game." Kelly had another stick break in the Canadiens' end later in the game. Ahh, less stuff for the equipment guys to haul back to Ottawa after the game.

THE BUZZ

Canadiens forward Alex Kovalev shone in his first game back after a forced two-game sabbatical. "All the guys are going to be coming to me and asking for three days off now," said Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau ... Kovalev wound up playing 19 minutes and 44 seconds, which led the Habs forwards in ice time. Three minutes and 19 seconds of that was short-handed, and he did a particularly sharp job during the Senators' first 5-on-3 advantage for 53 seconds early in the third period. "He's really smart," said Carbonneau. "That's what makes a good player in 5-on-3 situations. He has to read the play before it happens."

REVELATIONS

D Chris Campoli had a nice debut with the Senators with a pair of assists yesterday, but he paid a price. He left the ice hobbling seven minutes into his Senators career when he took a hard shot off the back of the leg ... Campoli led the Senators in ice time in his debut, clocking 23 minutes and 38 seconds, including a whopping 9:33 on the power play ... Mike Comrie played on a line with Fisher and Nick Foligno and had a good chance to score six minutes into the game, but couldn't jam the puck in by the post ... Campoli said yesterday he asked Islanders GM Garth Snow to be traded off the Island. The arrival of skilled D Mark Streit certainly didn't help Campoli's situation.

SPECULATIONS

With the Senators now having nine defencemen in camp with the addition of Campoli (and counting Christoph Schubert), you have to think there could be somebody on the blue line getting shipped to Binghamton of the AHL. A candidate to be sent down is Brendan Bell because of his two-way contract ... It's hard to believe Senators GM Bryan Murray would pick up Comrie, who can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, without having a pretty good feeling about being able to re-sign him.

CHRIS.STEVENSON@SUNMEDIA.CA


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