Michalek nears return; Winchester suffers headaches

If all goes well Thursday, Ottawa Senators leading scorer Milan Michalek could be back in the lineup Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

If all goes well Thursday, Ottawa Senators leading scorer Milan Michalek could be back in the lineup Friday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Yet it wasn’t all good news for the Senators on the concussion front.

While Michalek said it “felt great” to practice with the team Wednesday, for the first time since suffering a concussion in a collision with teammate Erik Karlsson on Dec.13, Jesse Wincheser was dealing with headaches, according to coach Paul MacLean. Winchester suffered his concussion when hit into the boards by Paul Gaustad of the Buffalo Sabres, three minutes into the Senators’ 4-1 win on Tuesday and he’s likely out at least a week and may not return before the New Year.

Michalek, however, is hoping there are no more setbacks in his recovery.

“We’ll see how it’s going to feel (Thursday),” said Michalek. “I skated pretty hard (Wednesday). “I skated pretty hard, we’ll see how it’s going to be and my conditioning has to be better, too.”

Michalek, who has had two previous concussions, says the recovery from the current one has been mostly positive.

“I go day by day. I had some good days, like three days, four days ago, and then a bad day, so you never know with a concussion. This one feels better (than the others). I was more alert, more energized.”

Senators coach Paul MacLean says the team won’t take any chances in rushing Michalek back.

“When you have 19 goals out of your lineup, and he’s leading the league, and he says he can play, you probably want him in your lineup,” MacLean said. “But again, we’re going to be careful. We’re not going to put him in, just to say he can have 20 (goals) by Christmas.”

BUSY SCHEDULE GOOD FOR TURRIS: When Friday’s game against Carolina is over, Kyle Turris will have played three games in four nights with his new team. He wouldn’t have it any other way. “The more games the better to get my timing down, to get back into the shape I want to be in,” said Turris, who played 16:10 and assisted on Erik Condra’s third period winning goal in Tuesday’s 4-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. “I want to be the best all around player I can be. Look at a guy like Pavel Datsyuk who is consistently one of the best defensive players in the league, but at the same time, one of the strongest offensive players in the league.”

BUTLER BACK: With Michalek and Winchester both expected to be out Thursday against Florida, Bobby Butler will get yet another chance to prove he belongs somewhere on the team. Butler has only two goals and four assists in 23 games and he’s feeling the heat to produce whenever he gets the chance. “It’s hard to put that pressure on a player to say you have to score in order to be able to play,” said MacLean. “We just want him to continue to come out and play well and create more opportunities for himself.”

 

 

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