Happy campers so far

Defenceman Wade Redden has his photo taken during the Ottawa Senators' first day at camp on...

Defenceman Wade Redden has his photo taken during the Ottawa Senators' first day at camp on Thursday. (Ottawa Sun/Blair Gable)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

Antoine Vermette wore an ear-to-ear grin as he headed for his next stop on medical day at Scotiabank Place.

"I'm just looking forward to getting back on the ice," said Vermette yesterday. "It seems like it's been a long summer."

The end of that long summer will officially come as 47 players hit the ice today at the Bell Sensplex for their first on-ice session.

After going through a summer of change, life will officially begin without defenceman Zdeno Chara, winger Martin Havlat and centre Bryan Smolinski, each with a new address.

The Senators have tried to win with talent in the past. This year, they will try to do it with hard work.

There will be plenty of brainstorming between GM John Muckler and coach Bryan Murray to put it all together .

"Bryan has more flexibility and I think that probably, as he said, we'll go to a blue-collar type of team and that means that he'd use all four lines and all of the people he has on the roster," said Muckler.

Added Murray: "We're going to have to see where everybody is going to fit through camp, who has chemistry with who and where everybody is going to line up."

* The only area the club seems set is in goal. Martin Gerber is a lock for the No. 1 job and Ray Emery will get the chance to push him.

* Up front, Jason Spezza and Mike Fisher are locks for jobs in the middle. Russian rookie Alexei Kaigorodov will have a chance to win the No. 2 centre job, but don't be surprised if Vermette pushes him for a spot, while Chris Kelly could be moved to the left side.

* On the left side, Patrick Eaves is going to get a chance to play with Spezza and Dany Heatley, who will likely be moved to the right. Vermette might play with Kaigorodov and captain Daniel Alfredsson. Veteran Dean McAmmond is also going to be on the left to complement Peter Schaefer. Chris Neil and Brian McGrattan will be on the right side.

* Christoph Schubert, who played a lot of left wing last year, is going to start on defence, but he might not stay there. The addition of Tom Preissing (San Jose) and Joe Corvo (Los Angeles) means the club is going to be more mobile. "Guys are going to have to play different roles and bigger roles," said Murray. "We're going to have to see more of Chris Phillips. As for Anton Volchenkov, we're going to give him more of a chance and see if he's able to get the job done with more ice time."


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