Alfie, Fisher, Kelly injuries hurt

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

At least Daniel Alfredsson's sense of humour isn't hurting. That might be the only thing that isn't bothering the Senators captain.

As he left Scotiabank Place yesterday, a couple of cameramen scrambled down the hallway to tape him.

Alfredsson spun on his heel and started walking away from them, a grin on his face.

That's about as much exposure as Alfredsson will get on the sports networks in the next while, maybe for a month.

All Alfredsson was allowing was he will be out for "at least a week." What's more likely is he's doubtful for the first round, no matter how many games it goes. A suspected strained medial collateral ligament and sore neck mean he will join Mike Fisher (knee) and Chris Kelly (hairline fracture in his leg) in the training room.

Coach and GM Bryan Murray figured Kelly is the top candidate to return, maybe for Games 3 and 4.

Then again, there is something in the air at this time of year that has led to more than a few miracle recoveries, eh?

For now, the Senators will be without three key performers, particularly on the penalty-killing unit, which will need some serious revamping against the Penguins.

"It's difficult and disappointing ... but it's always the way when you have guys like Alfredsson, they play every area for you and is probably one of the most -- if not the most -- important player on your team," said Murray.

"You have Mike Fisher, who kills penalties, plays on the second power play and who's a physical force, not available to you, and you have Chris Kelly, who penalty-killing wise is one of our best, if not the guy, we counted on most with Antoine Vermette. That's hard and it's disappointing.

"But now, as I said to the players before the last couple of games, other people get opportunities they have been looking for all year."

SHOW INTEREST

After a season of listlessness, a lack of sustained intensity and frustratingly indifferent play, the Senators now have a reason to get interested. They have just one opponent to worry about and the challenge of finding a way to win without three of their top nine forwards.

If they don't, this uneven season is going to end the way a lot of people think it should and a long season of second-guessing will begin in earnest.

"It's a big blow and we've got to overcome it," said defenceman Wade Redden of the injuries. "If you want to win, you have to go through certain adversities ... Those guys have been counted all year long, but we can't feel sorry for ourselves."

There is a positive in this.

The guys who are going to benefit -- Vermette, Cody Bass, Dean McAmmond and others who will get more minutes -- could bring an energy that has been lacking. "That enthusiasm is going to make up for a lot," said Redden.

Murray pointed to the acquisitions of Cory Stillman, Martin Lapointe and Mike Commodore as players who can fill leadership roles.

"All I can hope for here is we don't overplay the fact we've got injuries," said Murray.

The times these Senators were able to nut up this season were few and far between. A game against the Wings, another against the Canadiens when the Senators were a first-place team.

Now they'll have to do it for a bunch of nights.

Sounds like too tall an order for this group, this year.

We find out starting Wednesday.


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