Heatley's in right spot

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:28 PM ET

It didn't take long for Jason Spezza to make his first bold prediction of the season.

The Senators centre wasn't trying to put pressure on Dany Heatley, but Spezza is positive a move to the right side is going to be all right for his linemate.

"I don't think it's going to be too big a deal," said Spezza with a wide smile. "At times, (Heatley) has played on the right side , I think he is more comfortable over there. So we figure if he can get 50 (goals) on the left side, where he doesn't like it as much, he'll get 60 on the right side."

Of course, Spezza was only kidding, but as the Senators wrapped up their first on-ice session of training camp, yesterday at the Bell Sensplex, their new look was already getting a lot of attention.

With Martin Havlat and Bryan Smolinski dealt to Chicago in the summer, coach Bryan Murray is going to try a lot of different forward combinations during camp.

The biggest move on the first day of camp was the much-anticipated decision to move Heatley to Spezza's right wing, while Patrick Eaves skated on the left.

Though Heatley was trying to play it down, Spezza indicated the high-scoring winger wants the chance to use his one-timer from the slot this season.

"I get the feeling he just feels that it's going to be easier over there (on right wing)," said Spezza.

Rookie centre Alexei Kaigorodov opened camp with Peter Schaefer on his left and captain Daniel Alfredsson on the right.

Speedy Antoine Vermette moved to the left side of Mike Fisher and Chris Neil. Veteran Dean McAmmond, Chris Kelly and Brian McGrattan made up what could be a fourth line.

Murray indicated he'll start the preseason in Halifax Tuesday with some of these lines, then make the proper adjustments.

"There are people who have played together before in a number of cases," said Murray yesterday. "Eaves played with Heatley and Spezza a bit last year. Schaefer has played a little bit with Alfredsson in the past and I moved Vermette up to give (that line) some speed.

'NOTHING IN STONE'

"Certainly, there's nothing written in stone with these combos, but look for the veteran guys to at least play with guys they know. I think we'll play a game this way and then, in all likelihood, flip a guy or two once we find out where everybody stands."

With 47 players in camp and nine preseason games in 11 days, the Senators aren't going to be making any personnel decisions quickly. In fact, some prospects are going to get a better look before being sent to Binghamton.

Murray said he doesn't anticipate any major cut down until Sept. 26, after the Senators have played six games. At that point, the Senators will likely keep 25 players in camp.

"Are there a couple of players here that won't get a game? Probably," said Murray.

"We're going to give a variety of guys an opportunity to play at least one game."


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