The Senators shouldn’t be waiting for help with Jason Spezza sidelined until after the Olympics.
The club confirmed Spezza will be out 6-8 weeks with a torn MCL he suffered Monday against the Maple Leafs, but GM Bryan Murray told reporters he’s not going to be making a deal anytime soon. The Senators will have to soldier on without their top centre.
Murray said he can’t afford to make a deal unless another GM is willing to take a contract off his hands. The Senators have just $1.5 million in salary-cap room.
The Christmas roster freeze goes into effect Saturday and there are no deals on the frontburner.
“Right now, there’s nothing to look for,” said Murray. “We’re going to have to play with the lineup we have. It has to do with cap space and all that stuff. If an opportunity came along to do something, obviously I’d take that step.
“That would be a trade of a healthy body for another healthy body, hopefully. For the time being, it’s going to be the cast of characters we have. The top five or six forwards, guys like (Milan) Michalek (Mike) Fisher, (Daniel) Alfredsson and (Alex) Kovalev will have to step up.”
Spezza, sporting a newly-fitted leg brace, vowed to work hard to return.
“I’m just going to see how it goes,” he said. “You can always try to get back a little sooner.”
Campoli moves forward
D Chris Campoli returned against the Sabres, but had to accept a new role as a winger. A healthy scratch recently, Campoli skated as a forward with Binghamton callup Josh Hennessy and RW Ryan Shannon on the fourth line. That was the result of LW Nick Foligno being scratched with the dreaded “lower body” injury. Asked the last time he played forward, Campoli, who even took a faceoff in the second period, said: “Never in pro or junior ... I’m talking five or six years old. That was when the kid who could raise the puck scored 50 goals and that was me.” But Campoli didn’t look totally out of place. He even delivered a hit on Buffalo’s Matt Ellis. “I think he’ll be just fine up front,” said coach Cory Clouston. Captain Alfredsson offered Campoli this advice: “You can turn the puck over a few times and the defence will back you up.” Campoli also played a few shifts on the blue line in the third when D Anton Volchenkov left briefly after getting charged by Buffalo’s Adam Mair.
Starts ’n’ stops
Mair was a one-man wrecking crew. The Sabres’ C gave the Erik Karlsson a pitchfork to the head early in the second that left the rookie lying on the ice until it was apparent there wasn’t going to be a penalty ... The five-minute boarding call on RW Jarkko Ruutu for his hit on Patrick Kaleta in the second was just strange. Of course, this just makes Ruutu’s legend even larger against the Sabres ... Carrie Underwood was in the house to see beau Mike Fisher seal the win.
Off the glass
Chris Kelly deserves credit on the winner by Alex Picard for winning the faceoff in the Buffalo zone ... Not all the news was bad on the injury front with the Senators missing five regulars last night. G Pascal “Chocolate” Leclaire should be ready to return from his broken cheekbone, along with rugged RW Chris Neil (knee) next Wednesday at Pittsburgh. “(Leclaire) needs two or three practices once he starts skating with the team,” said Clouston. “He’s been taking shots for a while, so it won’t take long.” ... Brian Elliott’s blocker stop on Clarke MacArthur late in the second may have been his best since taking over from Leclaire.
A goal everybody wanted to see: Chris “The Big Rig” Phillips took a pass from Daniel Alfredsson in the first and rung one off the post with a backhander. Not only did Phillips jump up into the play, he looked a like a scorer with the quick whack on the bouncing puck... Nick Foligno’s injury is shrouded in mystery. Clouston wouldn’t even answer a question on how Foligno was hurt, but told reporters “he’s headed for more tests.”
Makes you go hmmm
Didn’t Ryan Shannon start the season as a top-six winger? Now, he’s got Josh Hennessy and D Chris Campoli as linemates. How the mighty have fallen.