'Dynamic' depth suits Senators
Team going forward with plenty of options up front
|Nick Foligno got his chance to play with Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson on the Senators' top line Wednesday night (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).
Less than 24 hours later, new acquisition Milan Michalek slid alongside Jason Spezza and captain Daniel Alfredsson during a morning practice session at the Bell Sensplex.
A week for now, who knows?
Such is the new luxury – or dilemma, depending on how you look at it – for head coach Cory Clouston, who has a wealth of forward talent at his disposal as he continues the building process of his team during Senators training camp.
On this day, at least, Clouston liked what he saw out of his newest No. 1 line combination, one that should be intact for the Senators' pre-season visit to Montreal on Friday night to face the Canadiens (7:30 p.m., RDS, Team 1200).
"I thought they practised very well," said Clouston. "It's tough until you get into a game situation, but I thought there was some chemistry and there was a good mix. Milan is a big, strong guy who creates some speed and I think they had a real good practice."
For the time being, Alex Kovalev, Mike Fisher and Jonathan Cheechoo form the Senators' No. 2 line. There's also Foligno to consider as a potential part of that mix. Count him among those who think the Senators come out as winners no matter how the top forwards are aligned.
"I think that's what's going to make us great," Foligno said of the Senators' new forward depth. "We have so many great players in Kovalev, Cheechoo, Michalek and Spezz and Alfie and Fish. It's going to make us pretty dynamic. You can put anyone on any line and they should be able to create something.
"(Wednesday night against the Florida Panthers) was just a 'getting to know you' period in the game. But I think as the year goes on, we're going to find each other and be able to play with each other as much as we want and it's going to be good for our team."
"If you can find a line that works or a few lines that work, that's great," he said. "But there are always going to be nights when things don't go your way and you can shift and get a little bit of energy by moving around your lines. We really have a lot more options now."
Spezza, who spent most of the past four seasons playing beside Alfredsson and departed forward Dany Heatley, is also up for a new approach.
"It could be good for the team," he said. "If you look at Detroit, at times (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg play together and at times they don't. Their lines are always moving and it makes it hard for the other team to adapt. I think that's what we're going for here.
"Instead of being so predictable ... sometimes you get caught focusing on playing a certain way. This kind of keeps thing fresh all the time and keeps us on our toes, too. We've got to find some chemistry among the new guys and for the most part, we have to be flexible to move around."