It’s been an important practice today for the Ottawa Senators, with numerous updates from head coach D.J. Smith relayed by the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch. The most consequential of them surrounds the status of star center Josh Norris, who Smith says is closing in on a return to the lineup, which could come this week.
The updates surrounding Norris’ injury status have been growing consistently more positive since the original shoulder injury occurred in late October, with the original fear being that Norris could miss the entire season. It was later determined that Norris wouldn’t require surgery, and he eventually returned to Senators practice in a full-contact jersey in mid-December.
Signed to an eight-year extension before the season, Norris is coming off a 35-goal season. Although he had just two points in five games before sustaining the shoulder injury, team chemistry is much-improved after their offseason additions have had time to settle in.
- On the flip side of things, an injury-plagued season for defensive stalwart Artem Zub may be continuing. He wasn’t present at practice today according to Garrioch, He left Ottawa’s 7-0 blowout loss at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche yesterday with a lower-body injury, and his availability is in doubt for their game tomorrow against the Blues. Zub’s missed exactly half of Ottawa’s season thus far, only playing in 21 out of 42 games.
- In response to the Zub injury, the team recalled Jacob Bernard-Docker from the AHL’s Belleville Senators. The 22-year-old first-round pick has one assist in nine games with Ottawa this year and could slot in Zub’s top-pairing role alongside Thomas Chabot.