Dziurzynski: Getting better; Getting confident
When Dave Dziurzynski was called up to the big club, a lot of fans weren't sure what to expect from the big 23 year old. With a large frame and two-way game, he plays a style that often veers away from the stat sheet and, consequently, away from attention.
The good news there is 'Dizzy' plays a game appreciated by his teammates and coaches. Responsibility in all three zones, physicality and smart play all lend themselves well to the system Paul MacLean & Co. preach here in Ottawa.
From here on out it's not so much a matter of Dziurzynski changing that game to fit the NHL level as it is improving the way he plays it.
"Yeah, just trying to adapt to every game and get better and get more confidence. I think they're kind of using me in a shut down role so it's playing against the top line and getting more minutes and trying to get more comfortable. "
The comfort level hasn't been a problem for many of the Sens' call-ups this season, in large part because there have been too many new faces. Depending on what corner of the locker room you're in you are finding players who were plugging away in Binghamton together just a few weeks ago.
"It definitely helps, a lot of familiar faces around the room, a lot of guys I played with and won a Calder Cup with so we're pretty close with everyone and it makes it a lot easier, just coming in to adapt when you're nervous coming in. Seeing everyone, it helps a lot."
The friendly faces have been about the only easy part of the adjustment.
In a matter of hours, Dziurzynski went from AHL forward at-large to shutdown winger on an NHL team. One of his first assignments was lining up against Toronto's Phil Kessel, the League's sixth leading point getter last season.
Welcome to The Show, kid.
"You grew up watching him on TV so it's a little bit... overwhelming at first but I'm just trying to settle down early in the game, keep it really simple and play my best and help Smitty (Zack Smith) and Neiler (Chris Neil) out. "
To that line's credit, Kessel has zero points in two games against Ottawa.
Dziurzynski has now played in six NHL games and found a way to score two goals for his efforts. All told it's not a half bad start for a player who has been relied upon to shut down opposing goal scorers.
The real question after all of this is what he is doing with that first ever puck, scored on Rick DiPietro on February 19, .
"Ottawa makes a first goal thing for you so it's going to go to my family. My parents have a Wall of Fame type of thing so it's going to go to them to put on their wall."