Phillips to return Thursday, Neil and Spezza out, Stone recalled from Binghamton

Robin Lehner stops a puck in mid air from LA's Dwight King, with Chris Phillips at the net also. Photo by Julie Oliver, The Ottawa Citizen

The Ottawa Senators got some good news on Tuesday.
Chris Phillips (left foot) practised again, Jason Spezza (lower body) skated before the main practice with conditioning coach Chris Schwarz, and Chris Neil (lower body, but believed to be a leg muscle) may not be as seriously injured as first thought.
Still, while Phillips is expected back for Thursday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, Spezza isn’t, and the team still doesn’t know how long Neil will be out.
His is not being considered a day-to-day injury, but perhaps in the range of one to three weeks.
Coach Paul MacLean said it responded overnight better than had been hoped but they’ll have another look at it on Wednesday.
“I still believe it is going to be a little bit more than day-to-day, whether it’s one to three or whatever weeks,” said MacLean.
To fill the hole in the roster, Mark Stone was recalled from Binghamton.
The 21-year-old winger has had nine goals and nine assists in 19 games, and has been hot of late, getting five goals and five assists in his last 10 games.
He heard he was being recalled late Monday night.
“I was getting ready to go bed, getting ready for (Tuesday’s) game in Binghamton and I got the call,” he said. “I was pretty excited.”
Stone didn’t get a point in four regular-season games with the Senators last season.
He has played in two playoff games, (one in 2011-12 and one in 2012-13), and got an assist in his NHL debut, a 2-0, Game-5 victory over the New York Rangers on April 21, 2012.
This season got off to a tough start when he suffered a shoulder injury in the team’s season opener on Oct. 5 against Syracuse and missed 10 games.
“It was nothing too severe but it took time to heal,” he said.
“I was pretty excited to get the season started, and I was feeling pretty excited about the way I was playing. Then you get out there and to go down like that was pretty disappointing.”
In Tuesday’s practice, he took Neil’s spot on a line with Colin Greening and Zack Smith.
“It’s an opportunity,” said Stone.
“I’m up here so I’m looking to stick up here. That has been my goal since I got drafted, to play in the National Hockey League, so I’m here and hopefully I can make a good impression.”
MacLean said Stone shouldn’t feel he’s under the gun to produce.
“We don’t put pressure on (the players who are recalled) to produce,” he said.
“There’s enough pressure just playing in the NHL without saying ‘I have to do this and I have to do this.’
“All we want him to do is come up and be himself, play to his strength and we’re going to try to put him in a place where he can play to his strengths.
“He’s a player we think a lot of. He’s got a good mind for the game. He’s good with the puck. He can kill penalties. He can play on the power play.
“We like a lot of the things that he brings.”

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