Foligno urged to grind it out

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

Nick Foligno isn't the first teenager to be told to pick up his socks.

Anybody who has shared or is sharing a house with teenagers know what it is like to encounter a crumpled pair of socks under a coffee table, between the cushions of the couch, pretty much anywhere but a laundry basket.

In Foligno's case, the socks are mentioned in the figurative sense and the guy doing the mentioning is Senators coach John Paddock.

Four days into his second NHL camp, that's not good news for Foligno, the club's first pick in 2006 (28th overall), but the good news is it's four days into camp.

The 19-year-old winger still has some time to show what he can do. Mentioned as a kid who might contend for a roster spot on the big club, Foligno has been unimpressive and appears destined to start the season in the AHL.

Not that Foligno isn't used to hearing it from a coach. He lived with one the last few years as his dad, Mike, was his coach behind the bench with the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL and at the dinner table in the Foligno household.

"If my coach up in Sudbury ever yelled at me, my mom would step in," said Foligno, drawing laughs yesterday before heading to London for the exhibition game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

"I think this coach (Paddock) is definitely a little bit harder. Honestly, he's a great coach. I've learned a lot from him already. That's something I'm looking forward to, working with him for a long time to come."

Paddock talked for a while with Foligno on the ice yesterday morning as the Senators who were to play in last night's game practised here before boarding a charter flight. That Foligno has hit a couple of bumps shouldn't come as a shock. He's finding his way as he embarks on a pro career.

"It's black and white," said Paddock. "He has to play better. He's not the first one, he's not the last one. He's not the only one on our hockey team. They want to play a skilled game, they want to play with skilled players, (but) you don't need a skilled player necessarily to play with skilled players.

"Nick has really good hockey sense and he has a good work ethic on the ice. We saw that last year. Those are the two things he should be doing.

"Don't be worrying about laying a saucer pass or playing on the perimeter like a lot of our guys do too much. Play the game how it is supposed to be played."

Foligno seemed to take the criticism in stride. He admitted he thought he could have shown more at the club's rookie camp, but he said there is no question he is willing to do what is asked of him.

"They want to see me be a hard-working, grinding type player and that's what I'm going to show them," he said.

"That's why I'm here. I want to prove I can do that at this level. I'm young and I'm learning. I'm looking forward to figuring out things as I go here."

HERE AND THERE

Senators fans can expect to see most of the club's star veterans playing tomorrow night when the Senators host the Washington Capitals. Most of them were given last night off ... Veteran defenceman and Ottawa native Luke Richardson was in the lineup last night and Paddock wanted to see how he'd do in a game. "I think he's been real solid. We knew his experience and leadership in the room was going to be important," said the coach ... Nobody wore the captain's "C" last night in the absence of Daniel Alfredsson. "This team has only one captain," said Paddock, giving "A's" to Richardson, Chris Kelly and Dean McAmmond.

HD FOR PPV

The Senators announced the first game of their pay-per-view package Nov. 22 against Pittsburgh will be available in high definition. Senators VP of broadcasting Jim Steel said the club is working on doing the same for the other six games on Sens TV. "We expect the majority, if not all, of the Sens TV games will be available in HD," he said. That will be welcome news to fans who are parting with $10.95 per game.


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