SNAPSHOTS: Chabot and White return as Senators prepare to face Oilers
EDMONTON – The Ottawa Senators had a couple of familiar faces waiting for them when they arrived at their downtown hotel in the wee hours of Friday morning.
Top defenceman Thomas Chabot, who has been out with a broken toe, and centre Colin White, sidelined with a neck injury, both made the trek here from Ottawa, went for a skate Friday and have been declared healthy enough to suit up against the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place at 4 p.m.
As the Senators prepare to wrap up this three-game trip against Connor McDavid and the Oilers, the club will also have centre Jean-Gabriel Pageau back from his one-game suspension and centre Chris Tierney, who has been battling a flu bug running through the team, will suit up as well.
Coming off a 5-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Thursday and a 7-4 decision to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday to start this trip, the Senators can use the help and everybody will be welcomed back with open arms.
“We’ll be healthier for sure,” said coach Marc Crawford on Friday. “The fact we’re going to have a better lineup bodes well for us. We’re playing against a team in Edmonton that’s very much like Vancouver, they’re in the last gasps of it right now and they desperately need wins.
“We’re going to have an urgent team playing against us and those things are all positive because we’ve got to take the environment of the game and try to get our level of play up to match that to give ourselves a chance to have a positive result and have an impact.
“These are impactful games for everybody. I know it sounds a bit like a broken record, but it’s true. You’ve got to grab on to what you can because somewhere along the line it helps you.”
A COUPLE OF KEY ADDITIONS
Of course, having Chabot and White back helps because they’ve been two of the club’s most consistent players all season.
Some wondered if Chabot was going to play again this year when he suffered the broken toe blocking a shot March 11 against the Philadelphia Flyers and here he is ready to return. He skated in Ottawa for three days before flying to Western Canada and is feeling good.
“It’s been a long week sitting and watching the guys play,” Chabot said. “We took care of (the injury), we made sure it was fine. I started skating again so I’m excited to get back here.
“There’s always going to be a chance of further damage whether your toe is fully recovered or not, but in the skate I have no pain with anything. That was the main thing we were going to focus on before skating harder. I felt confident enough to come here and join the team.”
As for White, he started feeling better this week and is ready to go.
“I’m 100%. I felt good back in Ottawa the last couple of days and I’m good after the skate so I’m excited to play (Saturday),” said White. “It was pretty annoying. It was nagging me and giving me some bad headaches, but I’m feeling 100% now and good to go.”
BACK TO BELLEVILLE
With Chabot and White here along with Pageau’s return, forwards Vitaly Abramov and Filip Chlapik were sent back to the club’s AHL affiliate in Belleville in the morning because they were both on emergency recalls.
Abramov made his NHL debut against the Flames and finished minus-3 with 13:52 of ice time, but Crawford had no issue with what he saw.
“The last one he jumped on the ice and ate the last one so you kind of feel sorry for him,” Crawford said. “I loved (Abramov’s) dash, he’s got a lot of dash in his game and he’s strong on his skates. You could see where he’s going to be a decent player. He’s really strong on the puck, strong on his skates, he’s got quickness, he’s hungry to get on there.”
THE LAST WORDS
Pageau will be happy to be back after he was suspended for a hit on Vancouver’s Ashton Sautner. “The suspension wasn’t fun,” Pageau said on Friday. “I have to move forward, I’ve paid the price and I had to miss a game. I’m glad the other player is okay and returned to the game. I don’t think it’s going to change my mindset, every game I’ll try to compete and play hard.” … Expect to see Craig Anderson make the start against the Oilers and he’ll be looking for his first victory since Dec. 17 against the Nashville Predators. The 37-year-old Anderson has lost 14 straight, but he can’t faulted for that record because many nights he’s given his team a chance to win. “It’s what it is,” said a frustrated Anderson after the club’s loss to the Flames Thursday. “All I can do is give the team a chance to win. I understand the situation that I’m in and it’s one of those things where guys go through struggles and it doesn’t matter what position it is and it just so happens mine gets magnified. There’s been numerous games down this stretch where we could have easily gotten a point and we didn’t get the win. All I can do is focus on my own game, give the guys a chance to win and, for the most part, over the last whatever number of games it’s been, I feel like I’ve been able to do that.”
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