PHILADELPHIA — Filip Kuba got a thumbs up in his return from a broken leg.
While Senators coach Cory Clouston was hoping to ease the veteran blueliner into the lineup after he missed the first 16 games of the season, Kuba played 17:05 with partner Erik Karlsson on Saturday in Boston. It was the first time Kuba, who had back surgery at the end of last season and had an assist on Karlsson’s goal, had suited up for a game since March 18.
“I thought he looked poised back there,” said Clouston. “I’m happy with his game. He just didn’t really do anything to get himself into trouble.
“He adds a calmness and a presence back there that we miss when he’s not in the lineup. That’s not to slight David Hale because David came in and filled in very, very well. It’s nice to have (Kuba) back.”
Kuba’s return means the back end is a bit crowded with eight defencemen in camp. Hale could be sent back to the club’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton at any time because he’s on a two-way contract.
But if they try to send him down, the Senators may lose him on waivers because there are plenty of teams — including Tampa, Colorado and San Jose — in the market for defencemen.
Ottawa has tried to deal Brian Lee and get his $825,000 salary off the books, but hasn’t found any takers — which is frustrating for both Lee and GM Bryan Murray. Clouston gave the players Sunday off to rest and relax on this long road trip after a strong effort against the Bruins.