PHILADELPHIA — Jason Spezza is proving to be a quick healer.
The Senators centre, who has resumed skating and shooting the puck after suffering a shoulder injury on Dec. 26 against Pittsburgh, could be back earlier than expected.
Coach Cory Clouston told reporters Wednesday morning that Spezza has made progress and there’s a good chance he could return not long after the five-day all-star break ends on Jan. 30.
“He’s been taking some shots, not big slap shots, but he’s ahead of schedule,” said Clouston. “So that’s a real positive. He’s working hard. He’s making sure his conditioning (is kept up).
“It’s one thing to go ride a bike and go out there and skate by yourself, but he’s doing as much as possible.
“Hopefully, sometime early after the all-star break, he’ll be ready to help us out. But we’re going to be cautious in that regard.”
Senators winger Alex Kovalev, who has been nursing a knee injury, skated before practice, took part in the first drill and then left the ice. He didn’t make the trip to Philadelphia.
“He said he felt better (Wednesday) than he did (Tuesday). So that’s a positive after skating for about half an hour,” said Clouston. “We can only hope that (Thursday) he feels better.”
The possibility exists Kovalev could return Friday against the Canadiens at Scotiabank Place.
Meanwhile, defenceman Sergei Gonchar and captain Daniel Alfredsson were given the day off from practice Wednesday.