Bishop, Winchester on mend

While it was originally announced Ben Bishop would be sidelined for two weeks, the Senators...

While it was originally announced Ben Bishop would be sidelined for two weeks, the Senators goaltender's recovery is ahead of schedule. (DARREN BROWN/QMI Agency file photo)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:03 AM ET

OTTAWA - Ben Bishop is feeling much better.

While the Senators goaltender was originally scheduled to be out two weeks with what’s believed to be a groin injury suffered Saturday against the Penguins, Bishop said Wednesday he’s ahead of schedule.

Bishop said if all goes well, he could be back on skates by the weekend and would like to be ready to play again before the Senators close out the regular season in 10 days against the Devils.

“It’s moving along faster than we thought. It’s a lower-body injury. I don’t want to say more than that,” said Bishop. “Hopefully, I’ll be back before the end of the (regular) season.”

Bishop left in the second period of Ottawa’s 8-4 win over Pittsburgh and was replaced by Craig Anderson.

If he’s going to be ready quickly, then it’s one less decision GM Bryan Murray has to make on the team’s goaltending.

There was talk the Senators might recall Robin Lehner from their AHL affiliate in Binghamton this weekend. That may still happen, but Anderson is well-rested after a month-long injury break and can carry the load.

Anderson won’t leave the net until a playoff spot is locked up. That’s a certainty.

“There’s no timetable right now. I know in my head what I’m hoping for and I’m hoping that happens,” said Bishop. “This isn’t a lingering injury I’ve had before. It’s nothing serious and it’s nothing bad.”

READY TO RETURN

C Jesse Winchester is fully recovered from his concussion and hopes to play on the weekend against either the Flyers or Islanders. Winchester has been out since he was hit by then-Sabre Paul Gaustad on Dec. 20.

“This is the best I’ve felt. I feel back to normal and I’ve felt that way for about a week now,” said Winchester, who has been taking part in drills. “It’s just about getting up to speed and, hopefully, I can join the boys pretty soon here.

“It was good for me to have a good, intense (practice). That felt great. Moving forward, I’ve just got to stay hopeful.”

Winchester said he never anticipated being out so long.

“I thought it was just going to be the normal 10 days,” said Winchester. “I approached it that way, maybe a little too nonchalantly. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve grown up a lot. I’m hopeful it’s behind me and I won’t go through it again.”

A NEW LOOK

Coach Paul MacLean did make a switch on defence during practice Wednesday, pairing Chris Phillips with Sergei Gonchar, while rookie Jared Cowen took turns in a pairing with Matt Carkner or Matt Gilroy.

“We wanted to see (Cowen) play with (Carkner and Gilroy) to see if there is a partnership that could be formed with them,” said MacLean. “We’ve had our pairs together pretty consistently. We moved Jared around a bit.

“Right now, we’re just using practice to tinker with some combinations to see if we can make them better, see if there is something there or if it’s going to be a disaster, we’ve got to find out.”

THIS ’N’ THAT

The Senators signed D Chris Wideman to an entry-level contract. He spent four years at Miami of Ohio. The St. Louis native had 95 points in 163 career games and had two trips to the Frozen Four NCAA championship during his career. Wideman, a fourth-round pick in 2009, reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton ... Captain Daniel Alfredsson was given the day off from practice. MacLean will manage Alfredsson’s work with the club on the verge of securing a playoff spot. “He needed another day (off) and that’s fine,” said MacLean ... The only guy in the Senators dressing room happy the Sabres beat the Caps Tuesday night was LW Nick Foligno because his brother Marcus plays for Buffalo. “I’m happy as long as we make the playoffs. I’d be excited for him to have the opportunity to play in the playoffs. That’s every player’s dream,” said Foligno.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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