The Ottawa Senators will take to the ice against the Montreal Canadiens Thursday night without Captain Jason Spezza.
The 30-year-old centre is taking a cautious approach to an injury he described as a strain, without disclosing the location of the injury.
"[I'm] just kind of dealing with a little bit of a strain. Just want to make sure we deal with so it doesn't become something that lingers," Spezza told reporters on Thursday.
"I think I should be okay," he added. "That's why we are taking the precautions now. As much as I'd like to be playing in these ones and getting ready, the ones in October mean a lot more."
Senators coach Paul MacLean told TSN Ottawa reporter Brett Wallace that Spezza could play tonight if he had to.
Spezza was named the fifth full-time captain in the modern history of the Senators this off-season after Daniel Alfredsson signed with the Detroit Red Wings as an unrestricted free agent.
The Mississauga-native has appeared in two games for the Senators so far this preseason, registering one assist.
He acknowledged that the preseason afforded him time to carefully nurse the injury. Spezza was limited to just five games in the shortened 2012-13 season due to a back injury.
"I just strained something in practice and [am] just making sure it is taken care of," Spezza said.
"If I feel like there is any chance of straining it a lot more then I'm not going to play just to play and jeopardize not being ready for the first game of the year," he added.