Back surgery shelves Kuba

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

TAMPA -- The Senators have likely seen the last of Filip Kuba this season.

Unless the Senators go deep into the NHL post-season, they will be without the veteran blueliner after he had back surgery Tuesday in Los Angeles to repair a herniated disc he suffered at the Olympics.

With the Senators preparing to open Round 1 of the playoffs next week against either the Penguins or Devils, Kuba's decision to have surgery didn't come as a surprise. He has only suited up for 53 games this season and only twice since the Olympic break.

At this point, he is out a minimum of four weeks, but the rehabilitation process from the surgery is lengthy. The Senators kept holding out hope that Kuba, 33, wouldn't need to have the procedure, but he wasn't getting any better.

"That was the hope that we could get him back (without surgery), get him playing and re-evaluate him this summer," said Senators GM Bryan Murray on Wednesday. "He was having a fair amount of pain with pinching a nerve in the disc.

"(Kuba) just felt that surgery was the right thing to do at this time. Of course, we have to look after our players, and we decided to make sure that happened for him."

Murray said Kuba hasn't been completely ruled out for the post-season.

"He was a little bit sore earlier in the year. It looked like everything was fine. He got hit in the Olympics and from that point on he had a difficult time playing," said Murray.

LIKE GOES ON

"If everything is successful, and if he can get back to working out fairly quickly along with the proper therapy we'll provide, we hope he can come back if we go long enough in the playoffs. We'd certainly have to go deep into the second round for him to be available to us. Let's hope that's the case. Somewhere down the line it would be a nice addition to have if we go deep in the playoffs."

The Senators have gotten used to life without the Czech blueliner.

As far as coach Cory Clouston is concerned, life goes on.

"It's obviously disappointing. We were still keeping our fingers crossed that it wasn't going to come to this," said Clouston. "We've been playing without him for a long time and it was just going to be a bonus if he was back.

"We have adjusted without him and we will continue to do that. We're still optimistic with what we've got here and we're still optimistic that Filip will be able to join us before the season is over."

The Senators are fortunate that they brought in blueliner Andy Sutton at the trade deadline. He has taken Kuba's place alongside rookie Erik Karlsson and has played a big role.

Brian Lee will be recalled from Binghamton for the playoffs.


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