Break Period

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

The Senators will be scattering to the four corners of the globe during the Olympic break, but it doesn't mean vacations all around.

Finding places in the sun with good workout facilities have been the priority for most of the Senators players not heading to Italy to play in the Winter Games.

For GM John Muckler, the break won't be a break at all.

He'll be off to Florida today as the Senators pro scouting staff gets together to plot its moves heading toward the NHL trade deadline March 9. Meetings will go on for four or five days, said Muckler.

"I'll probably be on the telephone after that," he said.

Muckler said he's hoping the break will beneficial for both the players in Turin and those getting some time off.

"For those guys going to the Olympics, I hope they try and use it in a positive way," he said. "There are clubs who don't have anybody going and I'm sure they're ecstatic.

"But it's a chance to play with and against elite players in a tournament with a lot of prestige worldwide. They're going there to learn. (Dany) Heatley, (Jason) Spezza, Reds (Wade Redden) are going to be surrounded by the best players in the world. That should give them an advantage later. They'll get to know how hard it is to win a championship.

"What I'm taking out of this whole thing is it could be a benefit for us. A different atmosphere can be healthy. This team needs a confidence builder."

Coach Bryan Murray, who's going to spend some days at his home in Florida with his family, said the time off has both positives and negatives for the Senators.

For the players participating in the Olympics, they aren't going to get a chance to get over the bumps and bruises just about everybody has at this point in the season.

Some might pick up even more.

"For the players who aren't going, it's a chance for them to spend a few days with the coaches and in some cases make a few adjustments to get on the right page as we move into the balance of the schedule," Murray said.

The Senators not playing in the Olympics will be back at practice Feb. 22 at Scotiabank Place.

Here's what some of the players who aren't heading to the Olympics will be doing during the break:

- Brian Pothier: Heading back to his native Boston with his family to spend time with relatives.

- Chris Phillips: Plans on taking a Carribean cruise. "Probably the best part of (the break) is the timing," he said. "It's right before the final push. We can come back fresh mentally and physically."

- RW Chris Neil: Heading for a resort in the Dominican Republic with his fiancee, brother and sister-in-law. Neil said he made sure the resort has a good gym.

- RW Brian McGrattan: Plans to spend some time in his home town of Hamilton.

- C Mike Fisher: Trading in his helmet for a hard hat. He's going to check up on the house he's having built in the Peterborough area. He might also spend some time watching his brother, Bud, a freshman goaltender with the Quinnipiac Bobcats of the ECAC. Bud Fisher has been rated as a prospect by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau.

- C Antoine Vermette: "My main goal is working out," he said. "I want to get an edge for the rest of the season. It's unusual to have two weeks like this. During the season it's hard to keep the edge. That's my main thing." Vermette will also spend some time in Venezuela. "Instead of spending the afternoon after working out in freezing snow," he said, "I figured I might as well be under the sun, getting a little tan. I'll be ready for the last stretch."

- LW Vaclav Varada: Heading to Disneyworld.

- W Patrick Eaves: Travelling to Boston to visit his brother, girlfriend and roommates from his days at Boston College. He would have been a senior this year, so he still has plenty of friends there. Eaves said he plans on skating with the Eagles. "I'd still like to be in a team-like atmosphere," he said.

- C Chris Kelly: Off to Germany to visit with Andy Hedlund, a teammate with the AHL Binghamton Senators last season who's now playing with the Krefeld Penguins. Then Kelly's off to Prague to visit an uncle, who is the father to a new baby.

- C Bryan Smolinski: Taking his family to Florida for part of the break.

- LW Peter Schaefer: Going to Phoenix to visit a friend and then on to Mexico. As it turns out, Senators president Roy Mlakar will be staying in the same complex, just a couple of doors down. What are the odds on that happening?

One of the guys who you would have thought would be having an interesting break would be goaltender Ray Emery.

He's had an interesting season, which has included some minor controversy and the consumption of a cockroach in Carolina on a dare from captain Daniel Alfredsson.

So, what are you going to be up to during the break, Ray?

Maybe an episode of Fear Factor?

"I'm going to head back to Hamilton for five days," he said, "and hang out with my parents."


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