The Senators are hoping they will be without winger Alex Kovalev for just one game.
Kovalev missed practice today and will miss tomorrow’s game against the Buffalo Sabres as he returned to Russia following the death of his mother-in-law.
“We hope to have him back, in the best case, for Monday,” when the Senators host Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals, said Senators coach Cory Clouston. “It could possibly be that early, but we understand if it takes longer.”
Kovalev played almost 17 minutes in the 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins last night and Clouston said he admired Kovalev’s determination to put personal issues aside. Kovalev has found some chemistry with Mike Fisher lately, so Clouston said he hopes Kovalev will be able to pick up where he left off.
“It’s bad timing, but there’s never good timing (for something like this),” said Clouston. “Our condolences go out to the family.”
The Senators will also be without fourth-line winger Shean Donovan tomorrow and maybe for the rest of the season. He sustained a right knee injury on a knee-on-knee hit by Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke. The exact extent of the injury won’t be known until more tests are completed today, but Senators general manager Bryan Murray said it was serious.
“It’s his MCL (medial collateral ligament) for sure and he’s having an MRI to see if it’s the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), too. We won’t know until tomorrow,” said Murray.
He contacted NHL executive vice-president of hockey operations Colin Campbell to discuss the hit, but Murray said he didn’t expect there would a suspension coming for Cooke.
“If it was any other player, you wouldn’t say anything, but it’s happened several times,” said Murray of Cooke.
Clouston said the Senators would miss the energy Donovan brings to the team.
“He’s a character who’s good in the room. The guys love him. He brings a spark to practices and games.”
With Kovalev and Donovan out tomorrow, Ryan Shannon and rookie Peter Regin will get a chance to get back into the lineup.