A seemingly innocuous play during the opening minutes of Thursday’s game between the Senators and Lightning has Ottawa blueliner Mark Borowiecki on the shelf, and there’s some concern about whether or not he’ll be able to return this season.
Borowiecki was injured three minutes into the Senators tilt with the Lightning when he attempted to throw a hit on Tampa Bay defenseman Matt Carle in the neutral zone. The hit, which Borowiecki only got the slightest bit of, seemed like a nothing play. Carle skated away fine and Borowiecki seemed more concerned with an oncoming Brian Boyle than the puck following the check. However, it was the last play Borowiecki made. After 56 seconds of ice time, he headed off the ice, down to the dressing room and did not return:
Not long after Borowiecki headed off the ice, the Senators announced he had suffered a right knee injury and will be “sidelined indefinitely.” That already Borowiecki has no timeline for a return isn’t a good sign, and it’s another blow to an Ottawa team that was already a longshot to make the post-season.
The 26-year-old has already missed two games this season with an upper-body injury, and was only in his sixth game back from injury heading into Thursday’s game. While he may just be a depth defenseman in Ottawa, losing Borowiecki further thins out a Senators blueline that isn’t exactly deep to begin with. In 63 games this season, Borowiecki had scored one goal and two points while amassing 107 penalty minutes.
If Borowiecki is out long term, Patrick Wiercioch, who was a healthy scratch Thursday, will likely draw into the lineup. Wiercioch was reportedly one of the players the Senators were looking to move at the trade deadline. The 25-year-old has five assists in 50 games and have averaged roughly 17:30 of ice time per game this season.