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Senators embracing a fresh start

Team insists Heatley trade has made them deeper, better team

Sunday, 13.09.2009 / 3:32 PM / Features
By Rob Brodie  - OttawaSenators.com
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Senators embracing a fresh start
Jason Spezza watches the action during the first day of on-ice workouts during Senators training camp at Scotiabank Place.
On the morning after, the feeling was as fresh and clean as the sheet of ice that greeted them for the first time in a new season.

A campaign now filled with hopes the Ottawa Senators believe got a whole lot brighter with the weight of the Dany Heatley trade rumours finally lifted from their collective shoulders.

"It was good for everybody," Senators head coach Cory Clouston said Sunday about the news the team received the day before, that Heatley had been shipped to the San Jose Sharks in a deal that brings forwards Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo to Ottawa.

"Most importantly, it was good for the dressing room and good for the players, just not to have that hanging over their head (anymore)."

Added captain Daniel Alfredsson: "It's good that we got it done now. We can get Milan and Jonathan joining us as quick as possible and being part of (training) camp, which is going to make the adjustment easier for everybody.

"It was good to see that Bryan (Murray, the Senators' general manager) got it done yesterday."

With the potential distraction now behind them, the Senators hit the ice at Scotiabank Place on Sunday thinking only about what comes next. With one day's worth of on-ice work at 2009-10 training camp now in the books, they already like the possibilities.

"In general, the team just wanted to move forward, whether it was with Dany or without him," said defenceman Chris Campoli. "(Michalek and Cheechoo) are two pretty good players, so it's going to be a great opportunity for our team to come together at camp, build into the regular season and build on what I thought we accomplished at the end of last year. They're going to help us."

Michalek, a 24-year-old power forward with emerging potential, and Cheechoo, a former 56-goal scorer, surely add to the Senators' depth up front. Suddenly, it's a team that isn't nearly as likely to struggle to find scoring depth beyond its top line.

"We don't have the one 50-goal scorer," said Clouston. "Cheechoo scored 50 goals (in 2005-06), but we're not putting those kinds of expecations on him ... I guess if you looked at a weakness on our team last year, it was the fact that we didn't have that type of offensive depth up front. We definitely do now."

Indeed, it's been quite some time since the Senators sported the potential for such a balanced attack. Along with the two players acquired Saturday, Clouston also has the many offensive talents of Alex Kovalev to insert into his lineup.

"We're all excited," said centre Mike Fisher. "We're going to have four good lines and a mix of a lot of different things. We're really looking forward to it. I think it's going to be great for us.

"In general, the team just wanted to move forward, whether it was with Dany or without him. (Michalek and Cheechoo) are two pretty good players, so it's going to be a great opportunity for our team to come together at camp, build into the regular season and build on what I thought we accomplished at the end of last year. They're going to help us." - Chris Campoli
"We knew we'd be better when we signed Kovalev ... (now) we've added three good forwards. We'll miss Dany but I think we're getting a lot more in return. It's going to be great to spread things out and not just rely on one line like we have been in the past."
 
Michalek and Cheechoo aren't due to arrive at training camp for a few days yet. But already, there's a general feeling that the Senators are exiting this weekend as a stronger team than they entered it.

"I'd like to think so," Alfredsson said when asked if he believes Saturday's trade strengthened the team's lineup. "It looks like we're going to be fairly deep in forwards. It's going to be tough fighting for ice time, which is a good thing.

"If you look at us last year, we were trying to have one line or 1-1/2 lines scoring. Now we can put three lines together who can contribute offensively or maybe even a fourth. So I think we're a better team."

Centre Jason Spezza, who just might be the man to help Cheechoo regain his scoring touch, heartily agreed with the captain's sentiment.

"You're never going to replace (Heatley's) 50 goals, but I think we're a better club," he said. "We have more depth. You replace Heater with Kovalev, Michalek and Cheechoo ... it's a pretty good start. I think we're a better club today."


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