OTTAWA - Anaheim Ducks left winger Chris Kunitz remains a longshot for the Stanley Cup final, but don't rule out a return Â– a la Eric Cole last year Â– should the series go six or seven games.
Kunitz, who is recovering from surgery on his right hand, was cleared to practise today but, despite looking quite good, has not been cleared for game duty.
Â“I would like to think (I can play in this series), but it's up to the doctors,Â” Kunitz said. Â“I'd like to help the team in any way I can, but it's up to the doctors and the trainers.Â”
Kunitz had an x-ray on the hand Thursday and while there has been significant progress, there hasn't been enough for the Ducks to press him into service.
Â“At this point we're nowhere near that,Â” head coach Randy Carlyle said.
A caveat: Players, coaches and NHL teams have been known on occasion to slightly mislead people when it comes to the status of injured playersÂ…
Several of the Senators players were complaining privately today that the statisticians in Anaheim have been a little liberal, especially when it comes to giveaways.
For example, Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson was charged with six giveaways in Game 2, something the Senators players vehemently disputed. When asked whether he thought Alfredsson was guilty of that many giveaways, Senators coach Bryan Murray simply said, Â“yes.Â”
In fact, Murray intimated that the stats might have actually flattered the Senators in the giveaway departmentÂ…
Ducks assistant GM Bob Murray is the leading candidate to take the vacant GM job with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
That leads to one question: Will he ask for a do-over on the trade that saw the Blue Jackets give up defenseman Francois Beauchemin and Tyler Wright to the Ducks for Sergei Fedorov and a fifth-rounder in 2006?
Murray was the one who insisted Beauchemin, then an overweight minor-league defenseman, be included in the deal, which was a Fedorov salary dumpÂ…
Chris Neil of the Senators was excused from practice yesterday because his wife was being induced into labor to have a child. That led to some silly, silly talk that perhaps the Senators might put Brian McGrattan, who hasn't played yet in the playoffs and is barely a good enough skater to play in the league, would go into the lineup.
Murray even played along with a reporter who asked about the possibility.
Â“Sure, there's a scenario that could happen,Â” Murray said. Â“Do you want me to tell you if I'm going to? I don't think I want to do that right now.Â”
Goalie Ray Emery also left the practice early, leading to speculation that his left wrist is continuing to bother himÂ…
A restaurant near the media hotel bills itself as Â“Mom's Schwarma.Â” Before I leave here, I'll have to get over there for some of that down-home, old-fashioned schwarma that mom used to makeÂ…
If the Senators are looking for inspiration regarding their current situation, they don't have to look far. On hand in Ottawa yesterday were members of the Montreal Canadiens dynasty of the 1950s. Two players on that team Â– Henri Richard and Jean Beliveau Â– were members of the 1971 Canadiens team that became the only team in NHL history to go down 2-0 on the road and come back to win the series.
On the other side of the ice is Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger, who was in the same situation with the Edmonton Oilers last season before the Oilers extended the series to seven games. As well, four members of the Ducks were on the 2003 team that fell 2-0 to the New Jersey Devils in the final before taking it the distance.
Pronger was asked whether he could comment on the mindset of a team that is down 2-0.
Â“Why should I?Â” he said.
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