The Ottawa Senators were eagerly awaiting the return of center Josh Norris for the start of the season. However, it seems that their hopes have been dashed as Norris is not yet ready to take the ice due to a shoulder injury that plagued him for most of last season. The 24-year-old was expected to play a crucial role on Ottawa’s top power-play unit alongside Vladimir Tarasenko and Drake Batherson in their season opener against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday. Unfortunately, the team’s coaching staff has been informed that Norris will not be able to play, much to their dismay.
A Promising Future Cut Short
Last season, Norris had an impressive performance, scoring 35 goals, which earned him a lucrative eight-year, $63.6 million contract. However, his season was cut short after sustaining a shoulder injury during a game against the Arizona Coyotes on October 22. Despite returning in January, he reinjured his shoulder and underwent surgery in February. The team remained hopeful that Norris would recover fully during the offseason, but it seems that his shoulder issue is more significant than initially believed.
The Senators’ head coach, D.J. Smith, expressed his disappointment regarding Norris’s absence from the lineup. The team had heavily relied upon Norris in their power-play strategy, and his absence means they will have to make significant adjustments. Smith alluded to the fact that they never anticipated starting the season without Norris, and it has left the coaching staff scrambling to find solutions. The uncertainty surrounding Norris’s return adds to the frustration for both the team and the player himself, as they had expected him to participate in practice, minor bumps in physicality, and even exhibition games before the start of the regular season.
With Norris’s status still up in the air, the Senators may have to place him on the long-term injured reserve list to create cap space for another player, namely center Shane Pinto. This decision is far from ideal for the team, as they had hoped to have both players available for the start of the season. The coaching staff has acknowledged the need to adapt and make the best of the situation they find themselves in, but it is undoubtedly a setback for a team aiming to make a strong start to the season.
Despite the disappointment of Norris’s absence, the Senators understand that they must work with the players currently available to them. They have been practicing and playing without Norris throughout training camp, and the coaching staff is confident in the potential of center Shane Pinto, who is expected to join the roster soon. The team’s focus now is to put their best lineup on the ice given the circumstances and make the most of the talent they have at their disposal.
The Ottawa Senators face a significant setback as Josh Norris’s shoulder injury delays his season debut. The team had high hopes for Norris, but the uncertainty surrounding his availability has forced them to make changes to their lineup and power-play strategy. Placing him on long-term injured reserve may be the best course of action to create cap space for another player. Despite the disappointment, the Senators must adapt and focus on maximizing the potential of their current roster.
Source : ESPN.com