The mystery surrounding Daniel Alfredsson continues.
The Senators captain, who suffered a concussion after taking an elbow to the head from Rangers winger Carl Hagelin Saturday, wasn’t on the ice Tuesday at Scotiabank Place and his status for Game 4 is up in the air.
While Paul MacLean told reporters before Game 3 Monday that Alfredsson had passed the league-mandated baseline test, the Senators coach confirmed Tuesday the 39-year-old has suffered a “setback” and that’s why he didn’t play.
Nobody is certain when Alfredsson might return and many wonder if he’s played his final NHL game, given his age and the fact he’s been non-committal about returning next season.
“Nothing’s changed,” said MacLean when asked if there’s an update.
Can he possibly skate Wednesday?
“At this point I’m not going to speculate,” said MacLean. “If he feels fine, he will. Right now, there’s no change to (his status).”
Do you have to approach it like you’re not going to have him in Game 4?
“We’re going to approach it like we’re going to evaluate it and we’ll see what it is in the morning,” said MacLean. “If he’s better and things go well, we’ll evaluate and make decisions on the lineup then.”
Given what took place Monday, it’s impossible to predict what might be next for Alfredsson. It was only the fifth playoff game in his career he missed and the Senators certainly could have used him as they were shut out by Henrik Lundqvist.
The Senators know Alfredsson’s absence leaves a void.
“We’d prefer to have him in the lineup. He’s our captain and he brings such an element in the offensive zone,” said winger Nick Foligno. “He’s just a calming presence when he’s out there because he’s been around a long time and he has a lot of experience in certain situations.
“I thought we showed (Monday in the 1-0 loss) we could play just as well without him. That’s not to say we don’t want him, but it shows we have a lot of depth on this team with guys who can step up and do a job, or any job, when he’s not in the lineup. That’s a good sign for us.”
Centre Jason Spezza said others will have to pick up the slack if Alfredsson misses a second straight game.
“We’re a better team with Alfie in the lineup,” said Spezza. “We’ve had guys who have come in and played (well). That being said, you never replace a veteran like Alfie by inserting someone in the lineup.
“As a team, we played without him (Monday) and generated a lot of chances. If we can do the same and just put a couple by Lundqvist, then we’ll be in good shape.”
D Matt Carkner said he if does play in Game 4, he plans to play more than the 39 seconds he was on the ice in Game 2 after his incident with Brian Boyle. “If I get a chance to play, I’m just going to keep it simple and play my game,” said Carkner. “I didn’t plan on being kicked out of the last game. That’s the way it happened. I want to be there and help the team by doing the best I can.” Carkner is eligible to return after serving his one-game suspension imposed by NHL VP of safety Brendan Shanahan. There’s a good chance he’ll go into the lineup for D Matt Gilroy.
Nobody would have expected Boyle — who has scored a goal in all three games after potting 11 all season and has become a central figure in the series — would be leading the Rangers offensively. “The last month of the season he played really well,” said centre Brad Richards. “It’s like anybody: (He) probably wanted to do more earlier in the year with goals and offensively. He regained (his confidence) in the last month, but he was doing so many other good things by blocking shots, killing penalties, it’s good to see him reward offensively. Now you can see a lot more confidence all over the ice.”
D Erik Karlsson and G Craig Anderson weren’t on the ice Tuesday. Both were given the day off for rest.