OTTAWA — Senators forward Clarke MacArthur may not be ready to return to game action just yet, but he got one step closer on Wednesday.
MacArthur, who suffered a concussion the second week of the regular season and hasn’t played since Oct. 14, took the ice with teammates Wednesday morning for the first time in four months.
There remains no timetable for his return, but MacArthur would like to be ready by the end of the month. Conditioning will play a factor, but the timetable would depend on whether or not he suffers any setbacks.
“Try staying away from most of the contact most of this week and start getting my melon bumped around next week and see how we go from there,” MacArthur said. “I’m still having a few things happen, but it’s night and day compared to where we were a month ago and even two weeks ago.”
MacArthur admitted there were days he wondered if he would ever make it back on the ice.
"There were a lot of days I didn't know what was going to happen," he said. "I know myself and my body and I knew the second I started feeling better I was going to put the hammer down and get back. I feel like I've got a lot of good years left and I know I want to be a part of it and that in itself I think has helped motivate me to come back and want to be a part of this."
With so much unknown about the long-term effects from a concussion, MacArthur admits there is some trepidation.
"I do (worry) because I have a family and kids," he said. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about that, but when I get told I can get back playing you know what, I'm just going to go out and play the way I played and let the chips fall where they may.
"It's a scary thing to think too far into and I don't even want to, to be honest. Once I'm ready to go and play I'm going to play my game and see how it goes from there."
The Senators (23-22-6), who are coming off a 6-5 loss to Pittsburgh Tuesday night, could use some reinforcements if they hope to make the post-season. The Senators were without forward Kyle Turris, who missed his fifth straight game with a lower body injury while defenceman Marc Methot missed his sixth straight.
Ottawa opened Wednesday five points back of the Penguins, who hold the final wild card spot and have two games in hand on the Senators.
Ottawa, which was outshot 44-23 Tuesday night, was down 2-0 midway through the first period before even registering a shot on goal.
The Senators have now lost four of their last five and have been struggling to find consistency in their game.
"I don't think there's enough pride as individuals right now," said defenceman Mark Borowiecki. "I think after every game you should be willing and able to look every guy in the eye in this room and know that you played your heart out and gave everything and if you can't do that then it's just not good enough."
Head coach Dave Cameron says it's on him and his staff to fix things, but that might be easier said than done.
"For me the first thing is the pride in defensive play and that's a mindset, that's a mental," said Cameron. "That's an individual thing, it's a maturity thing, it's an individual thing. It's a process. You hope you get them to play that way and they win some games and then that's your snowball going downhill."
Notes: A decision on Methot will be made Thursday, as will a choice on starting goaltender.