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OTTAWA (AP) - Dean McAmmond wants to play in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals. He just needs to be sure there are no lingering effects from taking Chris Pronger's elbow to the head.
The Ottawa Senators forward's playing status remained questionable Monday morning, hours before the pivotal contest against the Anaheim Ducks. McAmmond was knocked out in the third period of Saturday night's 5-3 victory when Pronger flattened him with a straight elbow.
"I actually feel pretty good, considering taking a pretty good shot to the chin," McAmmond said. "I am just going to continue on with my day and see how I feel later."
Although McAmmond hoped to get back in the lineup to help the Senators try to even the best-of-seven series, the Ducks knew they would be without Pronger - their Norris Trophy finalist who was suspended for the hit.
McAmmond skated lightly Monday morning and rode the stationary bicycle. In just 24 hours there was marked improvement in his condition that was diagnosed as a concussion, the Senators said.
"I rode for about four or five minutes," McAmmond said of his activity Sunday. "Didn't feel quite comfortable in the head.
"I rode today, and I didn't have as much discomfort. Because of the whiplash ... I have a lot of stiffness in my neck and whatnot. It's kind of tough to differentiate the pain. You want to be careful to know exactly what it is you're feeling."
The Ducks are feeling the loss of Pronger for the second time in the playoffs, both due to one-game suspensions. He also sat out Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against Detroit for his high hit against the boards that bloodied Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom.
McAmmond lost consciousness on the ice and was woozy when he was helped to the dressing room in the third period Saturday. He didn't return to the game. Senators coach Bryan Murray said he would wait to hear from the team doctor in the afternoon before deciding if McAmmond was OK to play Monday night.
"Nothing would surprise me. It's playoffs. It's what happens," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "People make huge strides in their recoveries after suspensions. It's amazing."
McAmmond doesn't harbor ill feelings toward Pronger but felt the one-game ban the NHL gave the All-Star defenseman was necessary.
He didn't appreciate any suggestions from the Ducks that he might have played up the severity of his injury to cull a harsher punishment for Pronger.
"They can think what they want," McAmmond said. "If they want to speculate that, that's up to them really.
"You should kind of look at the hit and judge it by the flagrancy there and not matter if the guy is up the next minute or out a whole year."
If McAmmond is unable to go, Murray said Patrick Eaves likely would rejoin the lineup after being a healthy scratch for two games. McAmmond is a center and Eaves plays on the wing, which poses some problems for the Ottawa lineup.
"I'm not sure how it'll work," Murray said.
The Ducks also had a decision to make regarding injured top-line forward Chris Kunitz, who returned to action Saturday following a seven-game absence due to a broken hand only to go out in the second period with an abdominal injury.
"You have to make sure to never risk the player's health or well-being by putting him into a situation because every player is going to tell you he's ready," Carlyle said. "It's the Stanley Cup final. This is a dream for a lot of kids.
"Those are tough decisions. Sometimes the player doesn't agree with you, but you don't want to jeopardize his opportunity to come back in the series at a later date."
Joe DiPenta was slated to replace Pronger in the Ducks' lineup.