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Kelly values role with Sens

Wednesday, 23.01.2008 / 3:25 PM / Features
By Rob Brodie  - OttawaSenators.com
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Kelly values role with Sens
It is one of the most exciting moments in any young hockey player’s life, that day he hears his name called during a National Hockey League draft.

Chris Kelly still calls it “a high point” in his career. But the diligent Senators forward can speak with experience now about how long and hard the road to an NHL career can be.

“A lot of people think when you get drafted, you’ve made it, but I think that’s just the beginning,” said Kelly, a 27-year-old Toronto native.

Kelly still remembers the four games he spent with the Muskegon Fury of the United Hockey League during his injury-riddled first year of professional hockey back in 2001-02. The NHL never seemed so far away.

“That was probably the toughest (time) for me,” he said. “It just seemed like such a large mountain to climb.”

But soon enough, he was back in the American Hockey League for what would be four full seasons of riding the buses – first in Grand Rapids, Mich., then Binghamton, N.Y. , wondering when his time would come. Kelly thought it had arrived in 2003-04, when the Senators called him up to the NHL. But a knee injury cut his time with the big club to just four games.

“I thought maybe I’d blown my chance of playing in the NHL,” said Kelly. “Then the (2004-05) lockout happened, and that was another year of playing in the minors and not getting an opportunity.”

After the lockout ended, Kelly arrived at Senators training camp in 2005 with a golden opportunity to secure a spot on the club’s fourth line. He didn’t squander it and has become a valuable contributor to the team ever since, especially on the penalty kill with Antoine Vermette.

You won’t see Kelly’s name on the scoresheet most nights, but Senators head coach John Paddock – one of Kelly’s biggest supporters going back to the years together in the AHL – surely can’t imagine going into the NHL wars without him.

“I think people recognize what I do isn’t extremely flashy,” said Kelly. “I’m not going to light up the scoreboard each and every night, but I’m going to try to have an impact on the game in a defensive role or offensive role. I just want to help the team when I can.”

Safe to say, given the path he’s taken to get here, Kelly savours every second of his time with the Senators.

“I don’t take coming to the rink every day for granted,” he said. “Once you’ve played in the minors and you’ve bused everywhere and you’ve played three games in a weekend, you just appreciate this a little more.”


SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
3 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
4 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
5 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
6 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
7 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
8 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 82 20 54 -15 74
J. Spezza 75 23 43 -26 66
K. Turris 82 26 32 22 58
C. MacArthur 79 24 31 12 55
B. Ryan 70 23 25 7 48
A. Hemsky 75 13 30 -15 43
M. Michalek 82 17 22 -25 39
M. Zibanejad 69 16 17 -15 33
M. Methot 75 6 17 0 23
P. Wiercioch 53 4 19 -1 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Anderson 25 16 8 .911 3.00
R. Lehner 12 15 6 .913 3.06