Hasek practices without pads, plans playoff return
OTTAWA -- Senators goaltender Dominik Hasek practiced without pads Friday and hopes to return for the playoffs after missing nearly two months with a groin injury.
Though there is no timetable for his return, an upbeat Hasek all but guaranteed he'd be ready to go for the postseason, although he wouldn't make any predictions on his return before then.
The 41-year-old veteran Czech also plans to practice with full pads Saturday morning during the team's pregame skate before playing Buffalo. The groin injury also knocked him out of the Torino Olympics.
"I'm focused on being ready to play," he said. "I cannot say it's going to be in five days, seven days or 10 days. My goal is to be ready as soon as possible."
In his absence, backup Ray Emery has made 20 straight starts and his strong play has erased any concerns over the team's goaltending. Emery was named the NHL's defensive player and rookie of the month for March.
The Senators started Friday with a two-point lead over Carolina at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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