Senators practice update: Neil skating again, Anderson starts against Pittsburgh

Ottawa Senators winger Chris Neil was back on skates Thursday morning, though it’ll still be a while before he sees any game action.

Senators practice update: Neil skating again, Anderson starts against Pittsburgh
Matt Puempel. (Julie Oliver/OttawaCitizen)

Ottawa Senators winger Chris Neil was back on skates Thursday morning, though it’ll still be a while before he sees any game action.

Neil hasn’t played since spraining his ankle in a game against the New York Rangers on Nov. 9.

Coach Paul MacLean said it was good to see his rugged veteran back out there, but cautioned there still isn’t a timeline for his return.

The Senators wrapped up their third straight day of practice Thursday before heading to Pittsburgh for a Friday night game against Sidney Crosby and Co.

The only lineup change for Ottawa: Goalie Craig Anderson will get the start after sitting out Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks due to neck stiffness.

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More news and notes from practice:

— Bit of a scary moment after a Jason Spezza shot hit Colin Greening in the forearm, leaving the big winger wincing in obvious pain (view the video by the Citizen’s Jean Levac). He was still trying to shake it off when he returned to the danger zone in front of the net. Afterwards Greening said he lost some feeling in his arm temporarily, but everything appeared to be okay.

— The Senators did plenty of work on the power play the past couple of days and MacLean said the key to getting it working again is to make sure they get into the offensive zone cleanly. Teams have been adjusting to their strategies, so they need to mix it up a bit.

— MacLean also acknowledged it might be a tough night for Stephane Da Costa against Pittsburgh. The rookie has slowed as the season rolls on, and now faces the prospect of facing one of three very talented centres (Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal).

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