'We need him on the ice'

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

Martin Havlat has served his sentence for kicking Boston Bruins defenceman Hal Gill in the groin.

Now the Senators winger is getting a figurative kick in the butt from Senators GM John Muckler.

"Having sat out five games now, I think it has taught him a lesson in responsibility," Muckler said yesterday on the Team 1200. "He's got to think a little more about his teammates. He's a very, very important part of our hockey club. We need him on the ice. When he takes a penalty like he did the other night and gets suspended for five games, he not only hurts himself but his team and his teammates.

"He has to accept that responsibility. I think he will from here on in."

Muckler is a huge admirer of Havlat's skill level, but he threw out the challenge yesterday for his impetuous winger to use it more often.

"He's a person we're waiting to have a breakout year," said Muckler. "He has tremendous talent, I think more talent than a lot of people realize he has...he can do a lot of things real well, but now he has to start to do them on a consistent basis."

The Senators sent rookie winger Brandon Bochenski to Binghamton of the AHL yesterday to make room for Havlat's return.

The Senators aren't going to eat into their cap room by carrying more than 21 players. Bochenski didn't require waivers to go to the minors and with just one goal while playing on the team's top line with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley, he was a marked man.

Muckler said Bochenski will have a chance to regroup in Binghamton.

"(The demotion) will relieve some of the pressure," said Muckler. "We felt he should be assigned and get his confidence back. He has to be more mentally tough.

"Young players in the NHL don't realize how hard it is to play to the ultimate every night."

"Brandon is going to be back, there's no question," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. "He's a kid that's destined to score in the NHL. The tough part for him coming in with Heatley and Spezza, the expectations for that line is you score and if you don't score, it's a problem.

"To heap that on him was a little difficult. He had a great pre-season. We thought it would fit. He lost a little bit of confidence and little bit of touch because of it."

It's probably a small consolation, but Bochenski can consider himself in pretty good company.

After star winger Marian Hossa was traded because he didn't fit into the Senators' budget, Bochenski is the latest victim of the salary cap.

Bochenski said the demotion caught him a little by surprise, despite the speculation in the Sun the last couple of days he would be the odd man out.

"A little bit. I don't know. Maybe you want to think things are better than the way things really are," he said yesterday.

"I just hit a bit of a slump. Obviously, I'm a little disappointed because I had a great opportunity to play up there. But there will be other opportunities. I know that."

Bochenski said he tried not to think too much about the situation in which he found himself, playing with two of the best young players in the league. He had a great chance and, after the pre-season success, it didn't work out they way he would have liked.

"When you start thinking about that, you start grabbing your stick tightly. I think I stayed pretty relaxed about the whole thing," he said. "Besides, that's the way I want it. You want to be in that position, on the top line, playing with the guys I was playing with."

"I'm a scorer, and obviously, they have a lot of scorers on that team."

Bochenski will have to wait a bit now to have another shot at experiencing something like skating out onto the ice at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, where he played his first NHL game.

"Stepping out on the ice in Toronto for the first game was really, really exciting. Just the whole atmosphere and everything about that game," he said.

"When you're up there, you want to stay there. You want to keep that feeling going for as long as you can."


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