Dominik Hasek hasn't given up hope on being a part of the Senators' Stanley Cup run this spring.
While Hasek faces long odds of coming back from an adductor muscle injury, he's expecting a visit from a trusted personal trainer.
Josef Bruk, a former Czech goalie who works with Hasek in the summer, told Daily Sport newspaper in Prague last week he is hoping to travel to Ottawa later this week to try to help Hasek come back.
Bruk, 71, who is a well-respected goalie coach and trainer in the Czech Republic, said Hasek is facing an uphill battle in returning to the Senators.
"We won't give it up," Bruk said in an interview Thursday.
The 41-year-old Hasek, who was injured Feb. 15 playing for the Czechs at the Olympics, has been working hard off the ice with Senators strength and conditioning coach Randy Lee, but has only skated once in the past 10 days.
Hasek took some shots last week during a skate at the St. Pete Times Forum, but going down to the ice and getting back up again has proved to be difficult.
EMERY PASSES ALL TESTS
But even if Hasek was ready to return, it would be difficult for Senators coach Bryan Murray to take rookie Ray Emery out of the net at this point.
Emery became the first rookie netminder since Philadelphia's Brian Boucher in 2000 to win a playoff series when the Senators sent the Lightning packing on Saturday with a 3-2 victory in Game 5.
"I thought Ray Emery played great," said Senators GM John Muckler Saturday. "This is a guy who has passed a lot of tests. He went unbeaten in his first nine starts in the NHL to set a record for rookies. That was one test. He had 12 wins in the month of March --which (tied) another league high --and that was another test he passed.
"This first series was a big test for him and he passed with flying colours. I thought he was excellent. We've got a long way to go to get to where we want to be, but we've got confidence in Ray Emery. We always felt he was going to be a No. 1 goalkeeper in this league because he's got everything it takes to get there to get the job done."
Labelled as Ottawa's "weak spot" by Tampa coach John Tortorella following an 8-4 Ottawa win in Game 3, Emery never faltered under a massive amount of pressure.
Muckler also heaped praise upon players like Martin Havlat, Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza, Peter Schaefer, Mike Fisher, Wade Redden, Chris Phillips and Zdeno Chara for stepping up their play.
"After (Game 2) our best players were our best players and they played the way they had to play so we could win this series," said Muckler. "I really thought Havlat was outstanding in this playoff series. Next round, it might be somebody else who steps up for us."