There is only one injury that currently concerns the Senators, and that’s to popular team doctor Don Chow.
GM Bryan Murray started a hastily called session with the media Tuesday by solemnly expressing his and the organization’s best wishes for Chow, who was in a serious motorcycle crash on Saturday.
At last update, the great 53-year-old surgeon was in a coma.
“He’s obviously an important member of our staff,” said Murray. “Our thoughts and prayers are with him on a daily basis.
“He’s been (with the team) a long time, but the most important thing is he’s a friend. He’s a very caring person. He’s helped every one of us, in one way or another. He takes time on a regular basis to do whatever is necessary for the team, the team members. From a personal point of view, my wife had surgery, and he didn’t do the surgery, but he was the one calling on a regular basis and offering support, help and advice. When a person cares that much, you miss him as part of your team, but again, we know what his family must be going through while we wait for him to recover. We’re going to miss him a great deal on the first day of training camp.”
As for his players, Murray said he believes Alex Kovalev and Milan Michalek (knees) and Filip Kuba (back) have all fully healed from season-ending injuries and the surgery to correct them, and that all will be ready to go when camp opens in 2½ weeks.
Murray added that blueline prospect Jared Cowen is over a case of mono and ready to compete for a job.
“I think we’re a contending team in the East,” said Murray. “I think there are a number of good teams, mind you. I suspect that we’ll be better than last year. I expect that.
“I always hinge a lot on the youth on your team. Do they have the potential to get better? If that’s true, and I believe it is, then your team should grow accordingly.”
In the final year of their contracts and under close scrutiny will be Kovalev and goalie Pascal Leclaire. Murray said he thinks Kovalev will have a good season, but suggested expectations should be lowered.
“He has a high level of skill, and I think we look at him as a guy who can take the puck and do what he wants when he wants to,” said Murray. “The NHL is not that way. I thought he played well most of the time last year for us in that he plays more of a complementary role now.”
Murray said he hopes Leclaire can shake the injury bug that followed him last season.
“He needs a good year of play,” said Murray. “He’s a guy that’s got to really step up at training camp, really compete and try to earn a lot of games.”