The Ottawa Senators announced Monday that defenceman Dion Phaneuf and forward Clarke MacArthur will both miss the remainder of the regular season.
Ottawa (34-33-9) is not officially eliminated from the playoffs, but has little hope of making up its eight-point deficit in the wild-card chase with only six games to play.
Phaneuf missed Ottawa's last two games due to oblique and foot injuries. He hurt his right foot while blocking a shot on March 12, and while initial x-rays were negative, the Senators said in a news release that further tests revealed a hairline fracture that will keep him out for the rest of the season "but will not impact his summer training."
Phaneuf had a goal and seven assists in 20 games with the Senators after arriving via a trade with Toronto.
MacArthur has been recovering from a concussion that limited him to four games this season. After months of side effects, MacArthur was finally able to return to the ice in February and recently received medical clearance after being symptom free. But the Senators said that "all sides determined that the best course of action was to return to action at the start of the 2016-17 season.
"This point where we are in the standings, it just doesn't make any sense," said MacArthur. "We went back and forth with it a little bit, but it just doesn't make any sense to come back and if something were to happen these last few games to risk it for next season.
"I feel good. I've been out there the last two months. Obviously my game speed isn't going to be there, but I've got a lot of exhibition and time to figure that out next year. At the end of the day that's the decision and I think it's the smart one."
The 30-year-old admitted he ignored symptoms following a hit during the Senators' last pre-season game. Rather than take time off he returned to the lineup and the next collision proved catastrophic.
"I honestly, deep down I feel like it was a fluke what happened this year," he said. "I don't want to be labelled as a guy with head problems and I'm certainly not going to play that way when I come back. I should have just taken the time when I knew something was wrong and I didn't and I won't make that mistake again."
MacArthur hopes others can learn from him and not feel pressure to play through symptoms, but he said the competitive nature of the game and its players sometimes makes it difficult.
"That's the regret that I have," MacArthur said. "That's the thing I've been dealing with all year. The frustration is if I just sit that out I'm more than positive I take a week or two weeks off there and I'm back playing for the rest of the year and helping the team, so that was a selfish thing. Not in the sense that I was trying to hurt the team, but selfish thinking about myself and wanting to play and it just came back to bite me."
Phaneuf, a long-time summer resident of P.E.I., called his injury "disappointing."
"I love to play. I was planning on coming back and looking forward to getting back, but when they found the crack in my foot. I've got to get healthy and be able to train and have a good summer of training."