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Kelly values role with Sens

Wednesday, 01.23.2008 / 3:25 PM ET / 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.”


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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
2 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
3 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
4 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
5 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
6 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
7 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
8 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 73 19 40 10 59
B. Ryan 69 18 35 9 53
K. Turris 73 21 31 0 52
M. Stone 71 18 33 15 51
M. Hoffman 70 26 20 20 46
M. Zibanejad 71 19 24 3 43
M. Michalek 66 13 21 3 34
C. MacArthur 53 13 13 -10 26
A. Chiasson 67 11 15 -4 26
D. Legwand 71 9 17 3 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Hammond 14 1 1 .938 1.92
C. Anderson 14 12 7 .925 2.44