Foligno hungry like a Wolf

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:16 PM ET

There have been no howls of protest from Sudbury Wolves about winger Nick Foligno remaining in camp with the Senators.

While his coach and father Mike Foligno would have loved to have had his son in the lineup for the Wolves' OHL season opener vs. the Mississauga IceDogs, he's not going to put any pressure on the Senators to get his son back.

Instead of starting the OHL season with his junior club, the Senators' No. 1 choice in the NHL draft in June is getting schooled at Ottawa training camp.

"He's my dad and he's my coach and in both roles he would like me to be here as long as I can be," said Foligno, who suited up for his second exhibition game last night against the Sabres.

"He knows that this is good for me and the longer I can stay here the better it is for me because I feel like I am learning a lot just by being here. I'm learning a lot about the pro game and I'm having fun. I know I am going to be playing junior this year, but the longer I can be here, the better it's going to be for me."

SOLID IN DEBUT

Foligno has been a nice surprise at this camp. The Senators were aware the kid had talent when they drafted him, but he has played well in scrimmages and was solid in the club's 5-2 victory over Pittsburgh on Tuesday in Halifax.

That's why the Senators are going to give Foligno and centre Cody Bass another pre-season game this weekend -- likely tomorrow in Halifax against the Maple Leafs. Both have played well and they deserve to stick around before they're sent back to their junior clubs.

"Foligno is going to be a player in this league. I don't think there's any question about that," said Senators GM John Muckler.

But Foligno isn't going to be disappointed when he does get sent back to the Wolves. He's going to play a big role for the club this season and Foligno is going to be asked to be a leader.

"I know that they're going to need guys like myself and Marc Staal (a Rangers prospect) to play a big role," said Foligno. "I definitely know what's expected of me and I know that I've got to be better this season."

Getting a chance to play against the Sabres was special for Foligno.

His father spent most of his NHL career with Buffalo and Foligno grew up watching the Sabres at the old Auditorium.

"That was the team I loved growing up and I still have a lot of family and friends in that area," said Foligno.

NO CHANGE: Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson and W Peter Schaefer remained off the ice yesterday to rest their tender groins. Neither players' injury is considered serious, but the Senators want to be careful, which means it's doubtful either player will see any action this weekend. "We'll see how they are in the next couple of days. They're just going to work out in the gym and we'll leave it at that right now. Then, make some decisions on them down the road," said Senators coach Bryan Murray. That's part of the reason the Senators are keeping extra players around because with four games in four nights, the club is going to need all these bodies.

AROUND THE BOARDS: Hockey Night in Canada's Ron MacLean is going to get a firsthand look at what it's like to be an NHL referee. Mac-Lean, an accomplished official in the Toronto area, is going to officiate a period of the Sabres-Penguins game tonight at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton ... Murray said he expects that there won't be nearly as many penalty calls early in the season because many of the players have adjusted to the officiating standard. "I think we all complained about it when it started because that's our job to criticize. But I really believe the players made the adjustment and they're feeling good about the direction the game has taken," said Murray.


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