Another ache for Senators

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:47 PM ET

OTTAWA - Patrick Wiercioch was skating backwards hard in the 1-on-1 drill Wednesday when all of a sudden the guy he was going against pulled up lame.

Yet later, Stephane Da Costa had little interest in discussing the right leg injury that has bothered him since at least Saturday in Montreal. If opportunity is indeed knocking, the 22-year-old rookie isn’t about to be caught limping through the door.

“It’s fine,” shrugged Da Costa. “It’s just a lower-body issue. It’s nothing big.”

More serious could be the shoulder injury Peter Regin suffered while crashing into the end boards during Tuesday’s game at Scotiabank Place. Damage to the same shoulder prematurely ended Regin’s 2010-11 season and required surgery.

“He’s out right now,” said coach Paul MacLean. “I guess he has to do some more tests. Right now, I don’t think he is going to play (Thursday). Right now, it’s day to day, I guess. Best way to put it until we have more results.”

Not too bad, right? Except when MacLean was asked if Regin would be ready for the Oct. 7 season opener in Detroit, his body language and answer were not encouraging.

“Optimistic yes,” said MacLean, raising his eyebrows. “But only optimistic.”

In an interesting battle for the second-line centre job with Da Costa and Mika Zibanejad, Regin has held the lead.

The 25-year-old Dane was Ottawa’s best player in a short playoff series two springs ago, then lived a nightmare in 2010-11.

“The games he played in, he was a very important player in them,” said MacLean. “He played against the other teams best players and he did a good job at it. His camp was going very good and I am disappointed for him right now. He was playing pretty close to what he was playing two years ago in the playoffs.”

Zibanejad and Da Costa have represented themselves well, too. Zibanejad has shown off a sweet pair of hands and now shares the team scoring lead with Zack Smith, at three. Just 18 years old, he plays his position well and looks comfortable competing at this level.

“I didn’t have very high expectations of myself,” Zibanejad said of his first NHL camp. “I just wanted to have fun out there. If I score, that’s a bonus.”

Da Costa has also flexed his playmaking muscles, setting up both of Milan Michalek’s goals in the exhibitions. Work he did on his strength, speed and balance in the summer has not gone unnoticed.

“I’ve tried my best, put my heart into it,” the 22-year-old said of his camp to date. “The results have been pretty good so far.

“I think I can skate with these guys. Just have to see if the staff think I am ready or not.”

The Senators made a number of cuts late Wednesday and are now down to 31 skaters. Rookies still with the big club are goalie Robin Lehner, defencemen Mark Borowiecki, Jared Cowen, David Rundblad and Wiercioch, forwards Kaspars Daugavins, Mike Hoffman, Da Costa and Zibanejad.

MacLean wants to have something close to his opening night lineup going Thursday in Boston.


Videos

Photos