Ottawa Senators forward Clarke MacArthur will return to the lineup for his team’s Tuesday game against the Detroit Red Wings after a prolonged absence because of a concussion, general manager Pierre Dorion announced.
The 31-year-old MacArthur has not played an NHL game since Oct. 14, 2015 when he suffered a concussion against the Columbus Blue Jackets. During a training camp scrimmage in September, MacArthur took a hit from Patrick Sieloff, which caused him to suffer a fourth concussion in 18 months.
On Jan. 20, Dorion announced that MacArthur would not play again this season, citing doctors’ concerns.
“From Day One, I said the doctors would decide and they have spoken,” Dorion said according to the Ottawa Citizen. “He is playing tonight. It’s something that we had all the necessary conversations with Clarke. We talked with his family. We talked to his agent. We felt that it was probably best to play his first game at home, so (coach Guy Boucher) could decide who he wanted to match him up against.”
According to an Ottawa Citizen article from mid-March, MacArthur said he was close to playing in January before it was decided by doctors to shut him down. He went to Florida to give retirement a shot but wanted to give hockey another chance.
“I basically, in all honesty, went to Florida to try and retire,” MacArthur said in the story. “If I go out in Florida, no one cares about hockey, I thought this would make it easier to get away from it. That worked for about the first week. I thought the whole week that I had convinced myself to move on and do something different. I didn’t know what to do or where I was going with it, but I was just trying to check myself out of hockey.
“By the second week, I was like, ‘I’m going to start going to the gym again,’ and by the third week I was talking with (Senators strength coach) Chris Schwarz and he was emailing me workouts, and by the fourth week I was looking at flights to come back. My plan of retiring didn’t last very long.”
MacArthur returned to practice with the Senators but it seemed like a comeback was a long-shot. According to the Ottawa Sun, there were “insurance issues” involving MacArthur, who has three seasons left on a five-year $23.25 million contract.
It’s unclear what exactly MacArthur, a veteran of 548 NHL games, will bring to the Sens from a hockey perspective. His last big sample size of games came in 2014-15 when he had 16 goals and 20 assists in 62 contests. He has scored 20-or-more goals three times in his career.
“Clarke has wanted this for awhile,” Dorion said. “We’re not going to expect him to be a savior.”
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