BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- This was supposed to be Brian Pothier's breakthrough season.
After years of hard work trying to make it to the big leagues, this year's training camp with the Senators was supposed to be one where Pothier solidified himself as an NHL defenceman. Instead, he's back toiling in the minors.
While he should be pushing for one of six spots on the Ottawa blue line, Pothier has emerged as the top defenceman for AHL's Binghamton Senators.
Pothier and his wife, Gwen, have an 11-month-old son, Jacob, with a second child on the way. They bought a home in Kanata last year, settled in nicely and were looking forward to spending the year in Ottawa.
But that's all part of the labour strife in the NHL.
Then, there's the money. It looked like the hard work was going to finally pay off. Pothier was scheduled to make $675,000 (all terms US) this year. Without a new CBA in place, he'll earn about $75,000 playing in the AHL.
But with bills to pay and a young family to support, Pothier couldn't afford to sit at home.
"I'm not saying I would have been in trouble if this didn't come up. I couldn't afford to just skate at (the University of Ottawa). I've got to make sure the family is taken care of," said Pothier.
Pothier signed a lease on an apartment in Binghamton the other day and he plans to be here as long as there is no NHL.
"I guess the important thing for me is to come here and continue to develop," Pothier said during a break in the Baby Sens' camp yesterday. "What I have to do is just try to continue to develop my confidence and get the job done."
AROUND THE BOARDS: A report yesterday indicated that Senators RW Marian Hossa and D Zdeno Chara could be part of a team which would reunite players from the Czech Republic and Slovakia for the first time since 1993. As part of a tour being organized for December by International Management Group, players from the two countries would be reunited to take on a team of world all-stars -- which could include Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.