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Winchester 'thrilled' to be a Senator

Wednesday, 26.03.2008 / 2:34 PM / Features
By Rob Brodie  -
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Winchester \'thrilled\' to be a Senator
They call it a whirlwind, and Jesse Winchester has surely landed right in the middle of one.

And, just so you know, he’s loving every minute of it.

Mere days after finishing up his U.S. college career with the Colgate Red Raiders, the 24-year-old from nearby Long Sault, Ont., hit the ice for his first practice with the Ottawa Senators on Wednesday morning.

College free-agent Jesse Winchester looks on behind veteran forward Dean McAmmond during practice Wednesday at Scotiabank Place.
He couldn’t contain his excitement as he spoke about it all later.

“The last week has been pretty exciting,” said Winchester, who played his final game in a Colgate uniform last weekend, then signed a free-agent contract with the Senators on Monday afternoon.

“I’m thrilled to get here. The guys have been great so far in welcoming me to the new environment. I was nervous but they make you feel a part of it, so I’m grateful for that.”

Though there are some concerns about Winchester’s nagging “shoulder issue,” Senators head coach/general manager Bryan Murray is hopeful he can get the young prospect into a game before the regular season is over. According to National Hockey League rules, because of his signing date, Winchester isn’t eligible to participate in the playoffs and can’t be sent down to the Senators’ affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y.

“He said he felt okay (during practice),” said Murray. “But before I put him in, I want to make sure he’s more than okay. That may be tomorrow (against the Buffalo Sabres at Scotiabank Place), but I haven’t had the chance to talk to him.

“I want to play him a game or two, depending on where we go here and what happens. But I’d like to see him in a game.”

Winchester says he’ll work his hardest to get that opportunity. It’s the same attitude, in great part, that allowed him to grow from an undrafted player as an 18-year-old into a college free agent highly coveted by a significant number of NHL teams.

“The only thing I control is how hard I work,” said Winchester. “I’ll work my hardest every day and whether that ends up getting me into the lineup, I don’t know. I’ll give it my best every single day that I’m here.

“(Playing in the NHL) is the goal. That’s why I’ve played the game my entire life. To be this close… I can assure you I’ll do my very best every day I put on this jersey. I know that I’m here right now and I’m blessed with this opportunity, and I hope I can work my way into a game.”




1 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 TBL 62 37 19 6 203 167 80
3 DET 60 34 15 11 176 156 79
4 BOS 60 29 22 9 158 158 67
5 FLA 61 26 22 13 145 172 65
6 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
7 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
8 BUF 62 19 38 5 120 207 43


B. Ryan 55 15 30 8 45
E. Karlsson 59 14 31 2 45
K. Turris 59 15 26 -5 41
M. Stone 57 14 23 9 37
M. Hoffman 56 21 15 22 36
M. Zibanejad 57 15 17 1 32
C. MacArthur 53 13 13 -10 26
M. Michalek 54 11 14 -2 25
D. Legwand 57 8 14 -2 22
A. Chiasson 53 9 12 -7 21
C. Anderson 13 11 7 .927 2.37
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02