GARRIOCH: Colin White ready to make his season debut Saturday

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There is a light at the end of the tunnel in the long and winding road to recovery from pre-season shoulder surgery for Colin White.


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The Ottawa Senators’ center was taking a regular shift with Parker Kelly and Austin Watson on the fourth line during the club’s skate Wednesday and White is expected to suit up against the Montreal Canadiens Saturday night at the Canadian Tire Center.

That’s the date that has been circled for a while and White has been given the green light by Boston-based surgeon Dr. Tom Holovacs to return. If all goes well, White will suit up for 33 games the rest of the way.

“It feels good to be out there and practicing with a normal line,” White said. “(Saturday) has been the plan and the date I set as the goal at the beginning of the injury and it’s come along pretty well.

“I think that will be the day but we’ll see how it reacts Friday.”

The 25-year-old White was injured in a pre-season game against the Toronto when he got caught up along the boards with David Kampf. The time line for recovery was four-to-six months so White noted he’s fortunate the club had some games postponed because it will allow him to play more.


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Being able to suit up going into the summer is important.

“It’s huge. Anytime you get hurt at the beginning of the year you hope to be able to play at the end of the year,” White said. “I’ll still be able to get in about 30 games and that will be good for confidence.

“It’s basically half a season so I’m treating it a little bit like last year.”

Coach DJ Smith will try to put White in situations where he can succeed. He was penciled in to play a big role this season but starting behind the eight-ball when everybody else has been playing means his role will be limited.

“He’s a veteran guy, he’s been in our room and he’s a guy that, for us, we haven’t scored a lot in our last 10 games,” associate coach Jack Capuano said Wednesday. “But he gives us a little bit more of an opportunity on the offensive side of things and get the goals needed.


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“But, let’s give it some time. It’s his first game from him back in a long time and we have to be patient with Colin and our expectations for him. He’s not going to feel his way through, he’s going to continue to have good pace and play the game hard. His practices have been good.

“He gives us a center or wing, wherever DJ decides to use him, and it’s just another guy with experience that maybe give us some offence.”

That’s the key to all of this for the Senators. The club is without center Josh Norris, the club’s leading goal-scorer, along with sophomore Shane Pinto, who was supposed to push to be the club’s second-line centre.

White has been preparing for this one for a while. He accompanied the Senators to Buffalo last week just be around his teammates and get used to the schedule that’s kept during a normal regular season.


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Hockey is about routines and White is trying to get back to his.

“I’ve watched every game this year, and I’ve watched countless other games, and the last two weeks I’ve just tried to go through a game-day routine the same days that we played games just to get back into routines ,” White said.

“I’ve played hockey my whole life. It’s a little bit more special when you get hurt and your first game is later in the season, it’s a little more important to me. Overall, I’m just trying to treat it as any other game.”

White has 33 goals and 88 points in 200 NHL games.

White may be rusty because he hasn’t played an NHL game in nearly 10 months but he knows what it takes to play at this level. He’ll be well-prepared and he’s confident his shoulder will be just fine.


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“I don’t even think about it anymore when I’m out there,” said White. “That’s the key now. I don’t think I can do anything to it that was done before so I feel like I’m good to go.”

Preparing for White’s return and with no skate Thursday, the club sent rookie center Mark Kastelic back to its AHL affiliate in Belleville Wednesday. The status of Dylan Gambrell will be determined Friday.

The club should also have center Josh Norris back from his shoulder injury early next week. Capuano said he’ll accompany the team on its five-game, 10-day trip and Norris is expected to suit up.

He’s been skating the last couple of days in a yellow non-contact jersey and will need clearance from doctors to make the next step. That may happen as early as Tuesday on the road against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

“After the Montreal game, there’s a possibility that he could be back as well,” Capuano said.

The Senators are coming off a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild Tuesday at home and have a rare three-day break in the schedule after playing 10 games in 16 days.

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Twitter: @sungarrioch



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