Leclaire's not safe from injury on bench, either


Ottawa Senators goaltender Pascal Leclaire was trying to play it safe Monday and ended up taking it on the chin.


Ottawa Senators goaltender Pascal Leclaire was trying to play it safe Monday and ended up taking it on the chin.

Leclaire, who opted to sit out the game against the Washington Capitals due to a "lower body" injury, suffered a freak injury while sitting on the bench as a back-up. A pass from Jason Spezza deflected off the stick of a Washington Capitals forward, off the glass behind the Senators bench and directly off Leclaire's face.

Leclaire immediately left for the Senators dressing room and didn't return to the bench.

An unsubstantiated report suggested that Leclaire had suffered a broken jaw, but there was no update on Leclaire's status following the game.

The goaltender's career has been marked by injuries, but he has been off to a solid start this season, traded to the Senators from the Columbus Blue Jackets following surgery on his right ankle.

Earlier Monday, Leclaire had joked about knowing he was in a hockey mad city because of all the fuss over the injury he had suffered during Saturday's 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres, downplaying any speculation that he had re-injured his right ankle.

While refusing to divulge the exact nature of the "lower body" injury, he said it was not related to his right ankle. He went through the entire morning skate Monday, often lifting his left leg before facing shots, but opted not to risk further damage by rushing back against the Washington Capitals last night. Leclaire served as the back-up to Brian Elliott.

"I knew it was going to create a whole lot of media activity, I heard a lot about myself (Sunday) and it was pretty funny," he said. "We just decided to take an extra day or two, just to make sure that the extra day will help."

The injury occurred late in the second period when defenceman Matt Carkner pushed Sabres winger Jochen Hecht into the net. Hecht caught Leclaire's head and shoulder before falling on his leg. Leclaire finished the period, but gave way to Elliott for the final frame.

Russians back soon

Anton Volchenkov practised with the Senators on Monday morning for the first time since dislocating his right elbow in a game on Oct. 28. While it's unlikely he will play either Wednesday versus the New Jersey Devils or Thursday against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Volchenkov and coach Cory Clouston are optimistic he could be back for the start of a road trip Saturday against the Boston Bruins. "It feels better. I need a little more work on my shooting," Volchenkov said.

Alex Kovalev missed his second consecutive game following the death of his mother-in-law in Russia, but Clouston said he could be back for Wednesday's game.


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