By Allan Muir
The immutable laws of math assure us that the Senators remain in contention for a playoff berth in the East.
Bobby Ryan's health tells us otherwise.
The veteran winger will undergo hernia surgery today in Montreal, ending his season and snipping whatever thin filament of postseason hope the team's diehards still grasped.
"Bobby has been dealing with the discomfort of this injury since it was sustained in November," said Ottawa general manager Bryan Murray. "Both Bobby and our medical staff were hopeful that we could hold off from having surgery until the completion of the season, but he aggravated the condition last Saturday in Dallas to the point that surgery is now the only option."
If you saw the incident above, it's not hard to believe that it was a season-ender. While backchecking deep in his own zone, Ryan went crashing into the boards when he was bumped by the Stars' Cody Eakins. It wasn't a dirty play, but Ryan had no chance to protect himself. He needed several minutes before he was able to get up, and he had to be helped off the ice.
Murray said that the team is confident that Ryan will recover in time to have a full summer of training and be ready to return next season. And while the GM didn't specifically spell it out, it's all but certain that Ryan will be returning to the Senators' lineup. There has been speculation during the past week or so that he might be available via trade if Murray decides to retool after a disappointing season. Hard to see a trade happening now, though. Ryan's still a valuable commodity, but uncertainty about his health diminishes his trade value in the short term. Standard procedure or not, teams will want to see him back at full strength before they offer up the bounty that Murray will be demanding in return for the four-time 30-goal man.