Breaking up hard to do

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:08 AM ET

It didn't take long for new coach John Paddock to shake up the face of the Senators.

As the Senators hit the ice for the first official day of training camp, Paddock began to put his mark on the club by breaking up the line of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson.

Paddock wouldn't even guarantee the Dynamic Duo of Heatley and Spezza would start the season together and promised to look at different combinations.

Yesterday, it was minor-league forward Niko Dimitrakos who took his turn on the right side. Patrick Eaves is a candidate.

"We're going to to try some things in exhibition games," said Paddock. "(Spezza and Heatley) aren't going to be together all the time. They're probably going to be mixed up. We're a long way from deciding who is going to play with them.

"There are going to be different guys from our (Ottawa) roster who get a look, but (Dimitrakos) is a guy who we're looking at as a depth player. We want to have some sort of balance in exhibition games. When you're trying to balance, there are going to be guys like him (rookie Nick) Foligno who get a look here. It's a matter of managing numbers."

With the Senators searching for a top six forward, Antoine Vermette skated with Alfredsson on the right and Foligno in the middle. Centre Mike Fisher, recovering from a groin injury, will slide into that spot by the end of camp.

"That's sort of the way I figured it would fall," said Fisher, who expects to resume skating with the team this week. "You'd obviously love to play with guys like that because they're both guys who work hard."

Alfredsson, who expects to play alongside Heatley and Spezza on the power play, won't complain.

"That should work fine. I played with (Fisher) quite a bit last year, on and off in the playoffs, so I think it's going to look good," said Alfredsson. "We (including Heatley and Spezza) have fun when we play together. But you want to have a balanced attack. I'm sure there will be times when we play together. With Spezza and Heatley, it's much more puck possession.

"If we don't make something happen, when we get the puck, we attack again. With Fisher and Vermette, it's going to be a lot more straightforward.

IN CORNERS MORE

"We'll take the puck to the net a bit quicker and probably play a bit more in the corners."

This is the chance Vermette has wanted. He has established himself as one of the NHL's top penalty killers, with centre Chris Kelly, but has long wanted to play a more offensive role.

"When you play with guys like this, it makes the game easier," said Vermette. "I believe I have the ability. I worked hard this summer to get in good shape and I'm looking forward to having a good year.

"I don't want to put the penalty killing away. I don't want to be a different player. I just want to have a little more responsibility in my game and a little more ice time."


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