Sens resort to bonding trip

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

If John Paddock had his way, the Senators probably wouldn't be packing their bags for the Muskokas next Sunday.

Oh sure, escaping to the Huntsville area for three days and, if the weather co-operates, playing some golf is nice, but when Paddock was a player a long time ago, bonding with the boys hardly involved a trip to a resort.

"I don't particularly like the formal wording of team bonding or team building. Years ago, team building used to be on Monday everybody would go for lunch and about eight beer. You don't really encourage that anymore," Paddock, who played for the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1980s, said with a laugh.

"I really think (coach) Pat Quinn was ahead in his timing. The year I spent in Philadelphia, and the year we went to the finals, we always had Mondays off.

"We came in on Mondays, but we went out and played soccer or baseball in the fall when the weather was nice and then we went somewhere for lunch. I'm not sure what we're going to do (to promote togetherness), but I don't think it's going to be anything formal."

The Senators are happy with where they sit heading into this break, which sees them play just three games in the next 18 days.

The players had yesterday off following a 3-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday and will be back on the ice tomorrow to prepare for Thursday's visit by the Montreal Canadiens.

With the club on a roll after posting a 6-1 record during a stretch of seven games in 11 days, Paddock is a little concerned about the club losing its edge.

He will try to simulate games in practice with scrimmages.

"I'm more concerned about those three games in that time," said Paddock.

"But that's where it's up to us as coaches to do what we can to prepare for that. The players still have to do it, but that's where practices sometimes become harder than games. We're going to try to vary things.

"We're going to work hard, but there's no sense in going out there and doing the same things with skating each day for two weeks. There's going to be some fun time as well. There will be variances to keep the mental edge and hard work to keep the physical edge."

Defenceman Chris Phillips said the break isn't ideal, but they'll make the best of it.

"We've played a lot games in a short amount of time. Some guys are not 100% and they're feeling the effect of all those games," said Phillips.

"We have a lot of guys who are thankful for the break to rest up a little bit. It's probably a little bit too long. You could definitely pick a spot on our schedule where it's going to get really hectic and you wonder why they couldn't throw one of those games in our break."

Goalie Ray Emery (wrist) was among those nursing injuries, but yesterday declared he'll be ready to return this week.

Centre Dean McAmmond, who is suffering from post-concussion syndrome and a shoulder injury after being hit by the Flyers' Steve Downie during the pre-season, is also nearing a return.

"Any bumps and bruises should have time to heal," said Paddock.

"This is a heavier stretch than you play in the playoffs."

Off the glass

The Senators are concerned that C Randy Robitaille may not clear waivers once a contract is completed. The 30-year-old Ottawa native has to go through the process because he played in Europe ... Paddock wasn't pleased with the officials in the third period against the Rangers. "(Martin Gerber) was outstanding," said Paddock. "He didn't have to be outstanding until the Rangers were given every chance in the world to win the hockey game. He had to be outstanding. There was some phantom calls there and he came up big."


Videos

Photos