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Early returns favourable in union of Turris, Sens

Centre has made an immediate impact in Ottawa since acquisition from Coyotes

Wednesday, 18.01.2012 / 4:33 PM / Features
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Early returns favourable in union of Turris, Sens
Kyle Turris and the Senators have proven to be an outstanding match since his acquisition from the Phoenix Coyotes. Ottawa has posted an 11-2-2 record with the him in the lineup (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).
After a tumultuous time with the Phoenix Coyotes, Kyle Turris has made a new home for himself with the Ottawa Senators.

It's been less than a month, but he's already settled into his new digs quite nicely.

Since arriving from Phoenix, Turris has made an immediate impact centring Ottawa's No. 2 line with Daniel Alfredsson and Erik Condra. The Senators are 11-2-2 since landing Turris, who has three goals and eight assists during that 15-game span.

The last thing Turris wants to do is take credit for the hot streak that has vaulted the Senators solidly into the Stanley Cup playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.

"It has nothing to do with me," said Turris, a 22-year-old native of New Westminster, B.C. "The team is just a great young team. The coaching staff is great. I'm lucky enough to play with one of the best in the game in Alfie and on my other wing I have Condra. They're great all-around players. We've got some chemistry. I just try to get them the puck."

The series of events that led to Turris' departure from Phoenix has been well-chronicled.

After 131 games in which he compiled 19 goals and 27 assists, Turris refused to sign a contract with the Coyotes during the summer. The restricted free agent held out until Nov. 22, when he agreed to a two-year contract to stay with the Coyotes.

But after six scoreless games, Coyotes GM Don Maloney shipped Turris to Ottawa in exchange for defenceman David Rundblad and a draft pick, giving the centre a fresh start in a big hockey market with even bigger expectations.

The first thing the Senators did was clear the air with Turris to let him know everything that happened in Phoenix was in the past.

"We talked about it," Alfredsson said. "He was really happy to come to us. He was really happy to come to a hockey city and market where it's the No. 1 sport and there's a lot of focus. I think that helps push him. The guys are on you every night. He's done a good job of embracing that role and making the most of it. I'm really happy with the way he's playing and the way he's fitting into the locker room."

Said Turris: "I explained it and they said it's in the past and we're just moving forward."

"It has nothing to do with me. The team is just a great young team. The coaching staff is great. I'm lucky enough to play with one of the best in the game in Alfie and on my other wing I have Condra. They're great all-around players. We've got some chemistry. I just try to get them the puck." - Kyle Turris
Senators head coach Paul MacLean said by inserting Turris as a top-six forward, it gave the Senators a stronger overall lineup.

"He's solidified the depth of our team," MacLean said. "He's given us a legitimate second-line centre that can play against anybody in the league. He's generated points in that position as well. For me, he makes us a deeper team and a harder team to defend."

While many pundits picked the Senators to finish at the bottom of the National Hockey League standings, the team entered the season without expectations. That same line of thinking applied to the arrival of Turris, too.

"I didn't know what to expect," Alfredsson said. "I hadn't seen him play at all. What I heard was good skater and good shot, and that's sure true. He's fit in really nicely with the team here. He's a good guy and we're really happy to have him."

Turris made the trek to Ottawa with his girlfriend and dog and said they moved into a townhouse together. It's helped with the adjustment of switching cities, as has the warm welcome he's received from teammates.

Throw in the fact the Senators are winning and Turris is contributing instantly — he notched the game-winner in Tuesday's 3-2 come-from-behind triumph over the Toronto Maple Leafs — and it's been everything the ex-Coyote could have wanted in a new hockey home.

"It's been lots of fun," said Turris, who's recorded 11 points (3-8) since joining the Senators. "The guys have been awesome in welcoming me and making me feel right at home. To come in and have the opportunity and confidence that everybody is showing me makes me feel unbelievable.  I'm really enjoying it."

Next Tuesday, however, he'll have to return to his old home for the first time, and the 22-year-old knows not to expect a warm greeting.

"I expect to get booed," Turris said of his first game back Jobing.com Arena since the December trade that changed everything for him. "They've got loyal fans there. It's going to be a real fun game. I'm looking forward to it."

— Author: Dave Lozo

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