Alfredsson laces up for pre-game skate
AEDAN HELMER, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - Daniel Alfredsson skated with the team for the first time Wednesday since a hit by Rangers forward Wojtek Wolski knocked the captain out of the lineup with a concussion Oct. 29.
Alfredsson passed his baseline exam and said he’s had “no issues” since Sunday, when he felt lingering concussion symptoms of nausea, dizziness and difficulty focusing.
“I think (the results) were good,” said Alfredsson. “I was happy with what I did, so I don’t think it’s an issue at all ... I’m just going to take it one day at a time and we’ll go from there.”
With Alfredsson meeting all the NHL protocols to return to the lineup, it appears it will be up to the captain himself to declare himself fit to play.
“I would think it’s going to be partly my decision as well,” quipped head coach Paul MacLean, who said his captain was “energized and having fun” in practice.
“Today was his first full practice and it was a pregame skate, so he didn’t come in and say he was playing.”
With those same Rangers in town, some Senators players, including enforcer Zenon Konpoka, were still talking tough about the hit that left Alfredsson prone on the ice at Madison Square Garden.
Wolski received a two minute minor penalty, but did not receive further discipline from the league.
But Rangers coach John Tortorella shrugged off any suggestion that his players may face some form of retribution as the teams square off for the first time since the incident.
“I don’t give a crap what Zenon whatever-his-name-is said. We’re going to go about our business and try to play the right way,” said Tortorella, whose team is coming off a 3-0 blanking of the Winnipeg Jets.
Martin Biron picked up the shutout in that contest, but Tortorella will return to Henrik Lundqvist in net. The Senators will counter with Craig Anderson.
The only lineup change for Ottawa comes on the blueline, with Brian Lee sitting in favour of rookie David Rundblad.
“I thought (Lee) played fine for us in the (last) two games, but at this point in time David Rundblad is a better player,” said MacLean. “We took David out to give him an opportunity to work on his body and to get some rest because of the scheduling, and at this point, that’s just the way it is.”
Things could be getting even more crowded on the blueline, as the Senators also welcomed bruising defenceman Matt Carkner back to practice, though he didn’t participate in any contact drills.
“It was a real positive step for Matt Carkner,” said MacLean. “It was just another step in his progression since his surgery. It was good to have him out there too, though I think he’s still a little ways away.”
MacLean said the key to beating the Rangers is to ensure “world-class goaltender” Henrik Lundqvist is forced to defend his net, and containing New York’s team speed up front, with snipers Marian Gaborik, Ryan Callahan and Brad Richards all finding the net.
“We have to make sure we match their work ethic and their determination,” said MacLean.