OTTAWA - If there still exists any suspicions over how exactly the right-handed Craig Anderson sliced a tendon in his right hand, the Senators' No. 1 goalie did nothing to squelch them when facing the media for the first time one week after the incident.
"I really don't care to talk about the details of it all," Anderson said Thursday at Scotiabank Place, hiding his wounded hand with a dark coat. "(It was a) freak accident. Happened in the kitchen. Leave it at that. Something you learn from. Unfortunately, it was a costly mistake."
Twenty-year-old Robin Lehner will continue to try and keep the cost at a minimum when he gets his third consecutive start Friday, as Ottawa looks for its third straight victory while hosting the Chicago Blackhawks.
Between the pipes at the other end in his first appearance since being bought out by the Senators four years ago will be Ray Emery, who replaced Corey Crawford as his teammates rallied to beat the Leafs Wednesday.
Anderson's hand was cut after he beat the Washington Capitals Feb. 22 for his fourth consecutive victory.
"I knew it was severe when it happened," he said when asked if he thought his career was in jeopardy. "I knew it wasn't the end of the world. I knew I had an issue, I knew I needed to take care of it. My main concern was just to get the help I needed right away, get the right people involved right away to make sure the road to recovery happened as soon as possible."
Anderson, who is now sixth in minutes played and wins among all NHL goalies, still has no idea how long that road extends.
"Hard to say. Timeline is wide open right now," he said. "All I can do is make sure I stay in shape. Go out there and skate with my gear on, keep my legs, keep everything strong so that when I am ready to come back, I am physically strong.
"Right now, it's still the opening stages of everything. One hundred percent recovery is obviously not going to happen in the short term. To be able to play is the main thing right now, and there is no timeline on that right now. There's improvement every day."
He's skating now, at least, and has tried on a "modified" blocker. Next step is being able to grip his stick.
"Pain comes into factor," said Anderson. "Obviously, we don't want to reinjure it. There are lots of things to take into consideration. Obviously, holding the stick is one of the main things that helps me do my job.
"There's gonna be discomfort. It's just a matter of how much pain I can play through."
Anderson says it's difficult to watch during this important stretch of the schedule. The Senators were fifth in the Eastern Conference
"Right now, the only thing I can do is take the mental break and make sure I'm ready when I come back," he said. "Gotta make sure I'm geared down for it; I've got to get mentally back where I was before I got hurt.
"The guys have been playing great. Robin's played outstanding the last couple of games. Gave the team an opportunity to win games. If we can continue to win games, it's all that matters. I'm just a part of the team as any of the guys whether I'm injured or not. I can be the guy with the big pom-poms right now."
There's a lot of cheering right now for Lehner, who has won both starts while allowing just two goals since taking over. The question is, can he keep it up? At the time of his recall, Lehner was 8-16-1 with a 3.38 GAA and .905 save percentage in Binghamton.
"Of course it's an opportunity for me to show what I can do under pressure. I'm just riding it day by day right now," said Lehner. "It's fun to be up here with the guys, the atmosphere in this town, this building, this team is just nice, every day.
"I don't really care what people say about me and my statistics in the AHL. I know what they are and I know me, myself, how it's been, and why. I've gone through a lot since I came over here, and I'm learning from it. I have people who are helping me to go through it. Everything is a learning thing and I'm learning every day."