April 12th, 2024

Senators centre Norris out ‘extended period of time’ with upper-body injury

By Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press on February 29, 2024.

Columbus Blue Jackets centre Alexandre Texier collides along the boards with Ottawa Senators centre Josh Norris during second period NHL action, Tuesday, February 13, 2024 in Ottawa. Senators interim head coach Jacques Martin confirmed Thursday that Norris would be out for an extended period of time with an upper-body injury, and that more information would be forthcoming. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators will be without Josh Norris yet again.

Senators interim head coach Jacques Martin confirmed Thursday that Norris would be out for an extended period of time with an upper-body injury, and that more information would be forthcoming.

Norris was injured Tuesday night in the second period of a game against the Predators when he was hit into the centre back post of the Nashville net by Cole Smith while chasing the puck.

Norris went down immediately and was favouring his left shoulder. The 24-year-old underwent surgery on that same shoulder just last February and was still dealing with its recovery when he arrived at training camp and ended up missing the first three games of the regular season.

The Senators centre had three goals and an assist in his last five games.

Norris has struggled with shoulder injuries for much of his career.

He had surgery on his left shoulder in 2019 after sustaining an injury at the world junior hockey championship. He missed 16 games in 2021-22 and was restricted to just eight games last year due to shoulder injuries.

“It’s just unfortunate because I thought Josh was playing his best hockey of the season for us,” Martin said. “I think since he’s been teamed with Drake Batherson I thought that line has been very effective. It had good speed and they were doing a good job getting some production as well, so that’s the unfortunate part.”

With Norris out, Martin said the plan will be to move Ridly Greig back to centre.

Norris’ teammates hated the sight of him in pain as he left the ice, but take comfort in how he has dealt with adversity in the past.

“He’s honestly a pretty positive guy,” said Batherson. “You don’t really see him in a bad mood.”

There was some good news for the Senators. Defenceman Thomas Chabot and forward Tim Stutzle are expected to play Friday against Arizona.

Chabot also left the Nashville game late in third period. He and Stuzle both missed practice Thursday with maintenance days.

Artem Zub will also return to the lineup after missing the last three games, but fellow defenceman Travis Hamonic will be out week-to-week and won’t make the trip out west with the team.

“I’m happy to have him back” Jake Sanderson said of Zub returning as his defence partner. “We’re building some good chemistry this year so, hopefully, years to come we can play together and keep building and building. He’s a big player for us and when he’s not playing we kind of feel it and there’s some big shoes to fill.”

The Senators (25-29-3) are coming off a pair of disappointing losses – 6-3 to Washington and 4-1 to Nashville. Ottawa didn’t even manage to register a shot against the Predators in the third period.

In its last three games Ottawa has struggled to get off to a good start, going down 2-0 in each game. They managed to rally against Vegas to come out with a 4-3 shootout win, but it’s not an ideal scenario for a team that struggles with consistency.

It’s been another difficult season for the Senators, and players are aware changes could be coming with the trade deadline just over a week away.

“There’s not a whole lot of talk, but obviously you see it on TV and stuff like that,” said Batherson. “But at the end of the day there’s always rumours and you don’t really know what until it happens. So, we’ll just sit back and see how it unfolds I guess.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 29, 2024.

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