OTTAWA - Daniel Alfredsson is symptom-free and back on skates.
The Senators captain skated for the first time on Monday at Scotiabank Place since suffering a concussion 10 days ago.
The Senators are encouraged by the fact Alfredsson, who was nailed by an elbow from Rangers winger Wojtek Wolski in New York last week, is no longer feeling the effects of the concussion.
Alfredsson will have a baseline test Tuesday to see where he stands in his recovery. If he passes, he’ll be given the go-ahead to resume practice with his teammates.
“He’s made a lot of progress the last couple of days,” said coach Paul MacLean. “He’s gone from riding the bike to actually skating. There’s no timeline (for his return), but there’s progress.
“He said he felt fine. He’s feeling better. He’s not having any symptoms. Obviously, he has to take the baseline test and then we’ll see from there.”
It’s no coincidence the Senators have lost three of their past four with Alfredsson injured. Historically, they’ve had a tough time without him in the lineup and this is no different.
His absence changes just about everything. The power play, which was the NHL’s best before he was injured, hasn’t produced a goal during the Senator’s three-game losing skid.
“We hope he gets back,” said centre Jason Spezza. “Like I said before, he drives that second line, he makes teams pay attention to him because he can be a game-breaker and make plays that other guys can’t make to get you back in games.
“There are only so many players around the league that can do that. He’s one of our guys. We definitely miss him. We hope he’s back soon, but we don’t think he’s going to be out for the long-term.”
The Senators had every right to be worried after Alfredsson suffered the concussion. Nobody has to look any further than Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, who has been out more than 11 months with post-concussion syndrome.
The Senators want their captain back, but they want him to be 100% before he suits up again.
Alfredsson certainly won’t play Wednesday against the Rangers at Scotiabank Place.
“That’s the worst injury you can have right now, the head injury for anyone, because you don’t know what’s going to happen and how long it’s going to take (to return). It’s tough. That’s the way it is, but it sucks,” said defenceman Erik Karlsson.
Karlsson said not having Alfredsson leaves the club without a major weapon.
“He makes other teams aware,” said Karlsson. “He’s one of those guys that other teams have to worry about. He’s a great player and a strong leader. We definitely want him in the lineup. There’s not much we can do, except hope that he gets better soon and we can still win some games without him.”