Milan fashioning a return

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:01 AM ET

The reinforcements are starting to trickle in at Scotiabank Place.

Senators winger Milan Michalek was on the ice following the team photo Wednesday and, after going for a one-hour skate with Jason Spezza (knee), Jesse Winchester (knee), Alex Picard and Mike Brodeur, declared he’s fit to return.

Michalek, who has missed seven games as a result of the concussion he suffered on a hit from Washington defenceman Mike Green on Jan. 7, said he’s feeling much better and was surprised at the impact the innocent-looking collision had.

“I feel pretty good. It was good (Tuesday) and (Wednesday) and I felt really good,” said Michalek, who told reporters he suffered the third concussion of his career. “I looked at it after and I didn’t really think it was a big hit. I didn’t really know what happened, even now. Hopefully, I’ll be able to play (Thursday vs. the Blues) and everything will be fine.”

Spezza could return as early as Saturday against the Bruins.

Having Michalek back means coach Cory Clouston will have a roster decision to make. It’s expected winger Shean Donovan will be a healthy scratch.

The Senators could send forward Zack Smith back to Binghamton, but he has been playing well. Smith scored his second goal since his recall in Tuesday’s 4-1 win over Chicago.

“(Smith’s) a big body and he’s played well on the penalty kill,” said Clouston. “He has been really important in our wins the last little while. He’s making it very tough for us to make decisions and that’s what we need him to do.

“You look at that game (against Chicago): (Peter) Regin, (Ryan) Shannon and (Smith) all get goals. A year ago, all three of those guys were in the (AHL). A couple of years ago when I got here, there wasn’t a lot of depth in the farm system and that’s really starting to build.”

’Tending to it

The Senators’ search for a goalie coach is about to officially begin. GM Bryan Murray has spent the last couple of days meeting with Gs Pascal Leclaire and Brian Elliott to get an idea of what they’d like to see in a replacement for Eli Wilson, who was fired following last week’s 6-1 loss to the Thrashers in Atlanta. “I spoke with Brian and I talked at length with Pascal (Tuesday) to get their input on what kind of situation they’d like to see for a replacement,” said Murray. “I’ll begin speaking with people in the next few days, but I wanted to speak to both goalies first.” Leclaire has worked with former Columbus coach Clint Malarchuk in the past and there’s talk the Senators have been doing homework on him. He has been out of hockey since suffering a gunshot wound in October 2008. Former Canadiens goalie coach Rollie Melanson is also considered a candidate. Former Calgary goalie coach Dave Marcoux has also been mentioned.

GETTING READY

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson said he plans to enjoy next month’s Vancouver Olympics because it’s likely the last time he’ll play for Sweden at the Games. Alfredsson plans on bringing his wife Bibbi and their three children, Hugo, Loui and Fenix, to the Games. “It’s going to be a special event worldwide and it’s going to be a lot of fun to be a part of,” said Alfredsson, who won gold with Sweden in 2006 in Turin. Alfredsson, who returned last week from a shoulder injury that kept him out three weeks, joked the only guy giving him any pressure to return from the injury was his father Hasse “because he wanted to see me play before he goes (back to Sweden).”

THIS ’N’ THAT

Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said he has discussed the possibility of getting a new scoreboard for Scotiabank Place with president Cyril Leeder. That is an option the club is looking at down the road ... Coach Cory Clouston cancelled practice after the team photo.


Videos

Photos