The Ottawa Senators received good news on Monday afternoon when they learned that top shutdown defenseman Anton Volchenkov would return to the lineup when Ottawa faces New Jersey tonight at Scotiabank Place. Senators coach Craig Hartsburg said about Volchenkov, “He gives us that physical edge defending and penalty killing. His energy in the game … he brings that energy on the bench and he’s a real competitive player.” Tonight’s game begins a crucial stretch for Ottawa as they look to make a second-half playoff run. The Senators are currently 13th in the Eastern Conference and trail 8th place Carolina by 12 points, but are thrilled to know that the “A-Train” is back on track.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
By DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA
“You’re probably getting sick of hearing it, but we’re taking it one day at a time now. We had a real good practice, and now we’re going to continue to try and stretch (good play) 60 minutes. I still don’t think we’ve done it over 60 minutes.”
As for the deep, 12-point hole his team is in, Hartsburg added: “That’s there. That’s not going to go away unless we cut into it. We can’t be looking at that every day. We have to just continue to win hockey games.”
Returning to the Senators’ lineup tonight will be defenceman Anton Volchenkov, who has missed the last eight games with a shoulder injury. The return of the team’s most physical blueliner means that — judging by yesterday’s pairings — Hartsburg will likely make either Brendan Bell or Jason Smith a healthy scratch.