Only feelings hurt for Sens

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:45 AM ET

While the Senators would never begrudge one of their players winning an Olympic medal, they weren't disappointed with the results of Wednesday's quarter-finals in Vancouver.

They're just glad their boys will be home safe and sound.

GM Bryan Murray and coach Cory Clouston said they would have been happy to see any one of Daniel Alfredsson (Sweden), Anton Volchenkov (Russia), Milan Michalek and Filip Kuba (Czech Republic) win a medal, but neither is upset Jarkko Ruutu (Finland) is the last Senator playing in the Olympics.

With their respective countries eliminated from the Olympics, Alfredsson, Volchenkov, Michalek and Kuba aren't due back to practice until Sunday or Monday.

"I thought all four played well in the tournament," said Murray. "I'm glad they survived the injury bug. It appears that's the case, anyway. If they're not going to win the gold medal, it's nice that we can let them have a couple of days break before they come back here and get ready for the final push for us."

The Senators are happy they'll get some time off because the grind once the season resumes is going to be difficult. Ottawa will play 12 of its final 19 games on the road and there aren't any long breaks in the schedule.

The break will help Alfredsson. The 37-year-old likely competed for Sweden for the last time and while it would have been nice to see him go out with a shot at a medal, the shoulder he injured in late December could use some rest.

"The break will help (Alfredsson)," said Murray. "Alfie down the stretch is going to be so critical to us and for him to have survived it and come back healthy and get some days off will be good for him.

"I'm sure he wouldn't echo that. He'd be disappointed that they lost out, but from our point of view, if you're not going to win it, then getting a few days off is nice for them."

Clouston hopes the players enjoyed the experience.

"I'm not going to lie: I'm cheering for Canada, but I'm disappointed those guys aren't coming back with a medal," said Clouston. "The biggest thing for these guys is the experience they had, and the fact that they are healthy is a bonus for us.

"They're going to get three or four days off, which I believe is really important going into the last part of the season. (Injury) is always a risk in those tournaments. There's a lot of intensity and guys are playing hard."

Karlsson on mend

D Erik Karlsson, who suffered a shoulder injury on Feb. 4, should be ready to play Tuesday against the Rangers. He practised Thursday at the Bell Sensplex for the first time since he was hurt, but left the ice early as a precaution. Karlsson said he's feeling much better and is looking forward to his return. "We're getting the progress we expected," said Karlsson. "I've still got a few more days to see how it feels, but right now it feels really good." Karlsson, who stayed up late Wednesday to watch his countrymen, couldn't hide his disappointed with Sweden's 4-3 loss to Slovakia at the Olympics. "It was a very sad day," said Karlsson, who would like to suit up for Sweden in Sochi, Russia in 2014 if NHL players take part in the Games.

Off the glass

Murray said there is plenty of trade talk, but salary cap issues remain a problem for a number of teams. "There are some people interested in dealing and there are some (potential unrestricted free agents) out there that teams want to get something for," said Murray. "But everybody, ourselves included, is really concerned about money and the cap situation and what we can and can't do." ... Senators RW Alex Kovalev, who turned 37 Wednesday, wasn't on the ice Thursday because of the flu.


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