OTTAWA - Things might change by the deadline, but the Senators don’t need to make a trade right now. What they need is Peter Regin.
After practising with the team for the first time since beginning rehab on his thrice-injured shoulder, Regin said he expects to be back by mid-December, as per the timetable.
He’ll be back on the ice Wednesday, taking part in some contact drills with assistant coach Luke Richardson, then participate in the morning skate with the rest of the team.
Regin is projected in as a top two-line player.
“It was more fun just to be around the guys, get all the chirps out there and stuff,” said Regin, who has missed 22 games. The skating part wasn’t that much different from what we’ve been doing. I’m looking forward to getting into contact.”
Regin thinks that once and for all, his troublesome shoulder has been fixed.
“At least that’s what I’m hoping,” he said. “You never know. That’s why we were taking such a long time, to make sure we gave it the best chance.”
Erik Condra is thinking of letting his hair grow.
Maybe go with the grunge-look.
“It’s working for him,” the Senators forward joked Tuesday, nodding to the guy beside him in the dressing room.
That would be Zack Smith, the third-line centre who now has five goals in the last five games.
Smith admits his confidence is pretty high.
“As high as it’s been up with Ottawa,” he said. “I think I gained a lot of confidence in Binghamton, with the Calder Cup run (last spring), and I think it’s translated into this year. You get a little bit of momentum and it carries on. Feeling pretty good right now.”
Smith is feeling so good he believes he can put up some bigger numbers than expected.
“I think so,” said Smith, who now has eight goals on the season. “Right now, feeling the puck good and getting a bit lucky on some of the feels, but I think I can contribute.
“I don’t think it’s going to change the game that got me here though.”
Craig Anderson was tied with Chicago’s Corey Crawford for sixth-most goaltending wins before Tuesday’s games.
His .896 save percentage left him tied with the likes of Roberto Luongo for 53rd best in the NHL.
His GAA (3.36) was 60th best of all guys who have seen even a second of action.
And his three assists left him tied for 461st, with guys like Sean Avery, Marco Sturm and Dustin Penner, among NHL scoring leaders.
His third helper of the season came Monday, when his pass to Jason Spezza was later relayed to Daniel Alfredsson for the game-tying goal in the third period.
“Most of the time it just kind of hits your pad, goes down the ice and they pick it up,” Anderson said of goalie’s assists.
“That was one of the first times this year that I actually had to make a pass. Luckily it didn’t bounce over Spezza’s stick. I got a little too much air on it.”
How many points should you expect this season from Anderson, who already has matched his career high?
“It could be three only,” he said. “Hard to say. The way things bounce. Usually comes down to guys making a great individual effort. We’ll see. Maybe guys will be nice and pass it back to me when we have an empty net.”
THE NEW LOOK
At first glance, Spezza likes the league’s alignment plans. But he wants to see more.
“I don’t know what the playoff formula is yet, but regular-season wise it’ll be good to see everybody home and home, give the fans a chance to see every player in the league,” said Spezza. “For us, it’s good to go to all the buildings. Adding the two Florida teams doesn’t change too much. We still see the same group pretty much, just with those teams a little more. They did a fairly good job I think. We’ll see how the playoff format goes.
“I imagine the first round will be conferences, after that I’d like to know what their scenarios are, how they reseed things, what they want to do.
“I’d like to see some options of what they’re thinking. I think the first round within your division is good, but I don’t know if you want to play all your games in your division, leading up to the third round. Unfair to the stronger divisions, I guess.”
After three weeks, Erik Karlsson still has a sizeable lead as the No. 1 defenceman in all-star voting, having picked up about 26,000 more than Dion Phaneuf.
But Alfredsson and Spezza have slipped a notch as Sidney Crosby is second among forwards.
Alfredson has third-highest number of votes among frontmen, with 320,100, which is 765 behind Crosby and about 64,000 fewer than leader Phil Kessel.
Spezza is next in line with 287,717 votes, while Milan Michalek is sixth with 261,462. Sergei Gonchar is sixth among defencemen with 212,052.