Senators practice update: Michalek nears return, Winchester begins recovey

Ottawa Senators winger Milan Michalek took another step toward recovery from a concussion Wednesday, while Jesse Winchester finds himself starting from scratch.

Senators practice update: Michalek nears return, Winchester begins recovey
Matt Puempel. (Julie Oliver/OttawaCitizen)

Ottawa Senators winger Milan Michalek took another step toward recovery from a concussion Wednesday, while Jesse Winchester finds himself starting from scratch.

Michalek, who was injured in a freak collision with teammate Erik Karlsson last week, said he felt good after his first full practice with the team since that day.

Although he said it was ‘unlikely’ that he would play Thursday night at home against the Florida Panthers, he didn’t rule out Friday’s contest in Raleigh.

“I just want to see how it’s going to be tomorrow, because it was my first time with the guys practicing and I skated pretty hard so we’ll see how it’s going to be tomorrow,” he said. “And my conditioning needs to be better too.”

Winchester, meanwhile, was still experiencing headaches after getting his head rammed into the boards by Buffalo Sabres forward Paul Gaustad the night before.

There was no word early Wednesday afternoon on whether or not Gaustad would face discipline from the league. He wasn’t penalized on the play that took Winchester out.

Senators coach Paul MacLean clearly wasn’t impressed with the hit.

“I thought it was a very dangerous play,” he said. “I think if you look at the replay, it’s a bigger man hitting a smaller man, whcih is part of it I believe, but also the stick being across the hips and running up to behind his head was the dangerous part.”

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More news and notes from Senators practice Wednesday:

Craig Anderson will start in goal against the Panthers. Anderson stopped 22 of 23 shots in the Senators’ 4-1 win over the Sabres.

— Winchester’s injury gives Bobby Butler another chance to show he belongs here. MacLean said Butler has been a diligent worker off the ice and has been a plus player so far. “Unfortunately, the expectation is also he’s going to shoot the puck in the net. That hasn’t happened for him yet.

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