By Ian Mendes, Sportsnet.ca
The battered Ottawa Senators’ defence corps will get a significant boost with the return of Anton Volchenkov this week.
The defenceman confirmed he will return to the lineup on Friday night in Buffalo after missing 15 games with a broken right index finger.
“It’s in good shape and I’m ready to play,” Volchenkov said on Wednesday morning.
The defenceman said he won’t wear a protective cast, but he will likely tape his injured finger together with his middle finger upon his return to the lineup.
And while the finger is still swollen, he says he will still play his usual style of tough, physical hockey.
“I can still block shots, so there’s no change for me,” said Volchenkov, who led the NHL in blocked shots last season. “It (the finger) doesn’t feel as strong as it did before, but it feels good enough.”
The Senators are in dire need of some defensive help after allowing 14 goals during two straight losses to the Washington Capitals.
And while Volchenkov’s return will certainly help, Senators coach John Paddock said the team is not expecting much from him right away considering he hasn’t played since Nov. 29.
“He’s coming back after being off for a month and he’s going to feel a little rusty,” Paddock said. “There will be concerns with that until he gets back into the flow of things so we should temper our thoughts that he’ll have a game without mistakes.”