The Ottawa Senators want Curtis Lazar to participate in training camp and prepare for what could be the most important season of his career, but the 21-year-old is being kept away for the time being due to a bout of mononucleosis.
During the first skate of training camp Friday, Lazar was missing from practice, and when asked why the young pivot was missing from the skate, Senators coach Guy Boucher announced that Lazar has come down with mono. Because of the illness, Lazar isn’t taking part in skates with the team, and Boucher said there’s no current timeline for Lazar’s return to action.
“We were hoping that it wasn’t serious at first and we were hoping with the few days that we had it would be good enough,” Boucher said, according to Garrioch. “But it’s become a daily thing that we’re going to follow up and it’s going to be carefully monitored...As you know, mono could be done in four days from now and it could be done later. We want to be very cautious with that.”
And while there’s no telling exactly how long Lazar could be out, there are some recent cases of players battling through the illness that could give an estimation on how long he could be out of the lineup.
During the 2008 season, then-Pittsburgh Penguins winger Tyler Kennedy came down with mono and was put on the shelf indefinitely, but he was back into game action roughly four weeks later. All told, he missed eight games with the illness, but was sent back to the AHL while getting back into shape before returning to the Penguins.
Former Detroit Red Wings winger Todd Bertuzzi also dealt with mono ahead of the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, but he was back with the team in less than two weeks’ time.
The most recent case, though, was Los Angeles Kings winger Tyler Toffoli. The 24-year-old came down with mono in January 2015 and was forced to sit out six games with the illness before returning to action. All told, he was on the shelf for 18 days.
If the timeline for Lazar’s return is anywhere close to Toffoli’s, that could mean the Senators are forced to go into the season without Lazar having suited up in any pre-season action. There are less than three weeks remaining until the start of the regular season, and Ottawa will be in action opening night against the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs.
Lazar had a somewhat disappointing sophomore season, and he’s looking to take a step forward in his third season with the Senators. He posted just six goals and 20 points in 76 games this season while skating bottom-six minutes, but he could be set to move up the lineup this coming season.
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