Cursed Leclaire hurt again

Pascal Leclaire was looking to win back-to-back games for the first time in nearly a year. Now...

Pascal Leclaire was looking to win back-to-back games for the first time in nearly a year. Now he'll have to wait. (QMI Agency files)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:20 PM ET

There was a scary moment midway through practice Sunday at Scotiabank Place, as goaltender Brian Elliott was run over in the crease by a group of players.

He went down.

He went to the bench for medical attention.

In the end, Elliott was OK and returned to the net.

And thats a good thing because Pascal Leclaire is hurt ... again.

The oft-injured goalie has a lower-body ailment and may dress as backup Monday vs. the Atlanta Thrashers.

It would appear Elliott is the only option in net.

After making 29 saves in a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Devils Friday, Leclaire was probably going to get a chance to win back-to-back games for the first time in nearly a year Dec. 26-to-Dec. 28 of last season.

Were hoping were okay, said coach Cory Clouston following a 45-minute skate when asked if the club was going to have to make a roster move. (Leclaire) should at least be okay to backup.

If Leclaire isnt ready, the Senators will recall Robin Lehner from their AHL affiliate in Binghamton to sit on the bench.

This isnt an ideal situation. It also isnt the first time Leclaire has been hurt this year. Making $4.8 million US and set to become an unrestricted free agent in July, Leclaire isnt doing the Senators or himself any favours.

His career hangs in the balance. The way things are going, hell either be a backup or in Europe next season.

There werent many reporters at practice Sunday, but you could see the eyes rolling as Clouston confirmed Leclaire wasnt on the ice because hes hurt. Hes already missed seven games with a groin injury this year.

Yes, I know (what the reaction is), said Clouston. All we can do is play the cards were dealt. Weve got to get him healthy and move forward.

We hope its not a long-term thing. Thats why he didnt practise (Sunday), to make sure that he doesnt aggravate the injury and hopefully be able to back up (Monday).

Leclaire has only three wins in 11 appearances this season, but has been one of the clubs best players.

Hes gotten more of an opportunity to prove himself and I think hes played well, said blueliner Chris Campoli. We believe in (Leclaire). Hes a highly talented guy. He can help us win.

Whether Leclaire backs up against the Thrashers, the Senators need to start putting together wins. They havent won two straight since a four-game winning streak from Nov. 2-Nov. 9.

They are buoyed by their better play and understand they have to beat teams like Atlanta if they are going to get back in playoff position.

The guys are just playing, in general, better hockey, said Campoli. A few weeks back, there were times where wed get down and instead of making it a game or getting into the game, wed play ourselves out of it.

Were not doing that. I think things are turning around. Guys need to get confidence in here. Everybody needs to step up.

Our big guys have to be our big guys, but the second guys have to step up to get the job done as well. Its starting to come (around) a little bit.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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