Senators Practice Update: Erik Karlsson Ready To Return?; Lineup Shuffle


At Ottawa Senators practice Wednesday morning prior to leaving for Washington in advance of Thursday’s game against the Capitals, there were a couple of very big changes.

February 1, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; Ottawa Senators defensemen Erik Karlsson (65) looks on from the bench during the 2nd period against the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC center. The Hurricanes defeated the Senators 1-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time, Erik Karlsson skated with his early-season defensive partner Marc Methot.  The pair player together prior to Karlsson’s injury and the fact that they are skating together makes one think that Karlsson is indeed ready to return to game action Thursday.  Here is how they lined up at practice on the blue line:

Erik Karlsson Marc Methot

Chris PhillipsEric Gryba

Sergei GoncharJared Cowen

As a result, it appears as though Patrick Wiercioch will be the odd man out, instead of Eric Gryba who most (including myself) thought would get sent to the press box when Karlsson was ready to return. Whether this is temporary or not remains to be seen.

As for the forward units, there was another shuffling of the deck as coach Paul MacLean looks for offense.  I am not sure if he will get it from the lines that skated together Wednesday:

Cory ConacherKyle TurrisMilan Michalek

Colin GreeningZack SmithDaniel Alfredsson

Jakob SilfverbergMika ZibanejadErik Condra

Guillaume LatendresseJean-Gabriel PageauChris Neil

It will be interesting, but I don’t understand the hesitation to use Alfredsson with Silfverberg and Zibanejad.  That seems to be a no-brainer for me.  If it was me, simply switching Condra and Alfredsson would give the best opportunity for offense from 2 lines.  I don’t think Condra and his lack of finish will do much for the Swedish kids, and Alfredsson needs someone who can finish on his line.

We will see Thursday if I am right!