The Senators need one more comeback to complete the hat trick -- and to become complete.

They need Jason Spezza in the lineup, and while he's nowhere near that point just yet, there has been some movement.

Coach Paul MacLean confirmed whispers that his star centre -- out since back surgery in February -- has recently returned to the ice. It's a small step, but a step nonetheless.

"He's been skating, but he's at the public skating stage, really," said MacLean, and by that he means going easy, not doing laps to music while holding hands with his wife Jennifer. "It's significant because he's started to skate, but it's public skating, really."

While Jared Cowen and Erik Karlsson have already returned from injuries the team said would keep them sidelined until next season, Spezza's story is a mysterious one. Originally, the best-case scenario had him missing 6-8 weeks. That was 12 weeks ago.

Spezza did try to skate a while ago, but suffered a setback. Most recently, the only time he is spotted by media at Scotiabank Place is in the hallways, on his way to the gym, or in the press box watching games.

Meanwhile, it's not like MacLean has his fingers crossed waiting for Spezza to resume practising.

"It's much with Jared and Erik, we weren't hoping," said MacLean. "I basically wait until they come in and say they're ready to play. or they're ready to practise. I don't really sit around hoping and hoping anything is going to happen. I like knowing way better. And until I know Jason is going to start to practise with the team and play with the team, it doesn't even concern me.

"I know that might be cold, but I'm only concerned with the guys who are available to me and who we can put on the ice to win a game."

MacLean says there's not a "set number" of practices Spezza has to participate in before playing a game.

"We didn't say Jared and Erik had to practise three times before they had to play, or three weeks," he said. "But one thing I'll say about Jared and Erik and Milan (Michalek) for that matter, they spent significant time skating with (assistant coach) Jason Smith and (skating coach) Mark Power before they even started to practise with the team. They were skating a significant amount before they started to practise with us, so they were ready to step in and practise with us. The skating they actually did was way longer than the time they spent with the team, before they played."

And Spezza is not near that stage.