Foligno's farmed out

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

The spare room at Wade Redden's house is vacant again.

Living in it the past two weeks or so had been Nick Foligno, but the Senators rookie was sent packing to the team's AHL affiliate in Binghamton yesterday. The move should surprise no one.

Foligno survived the odds to make the Senators out of training camp, but with the return from injury of Jason Spezza giving the club two extra forwards, the numbers finally caught up to the 20-year-old first-round pick.

In 14 games, he had two goals and no assists, while averaging just 8:45 of ice time per outing. Foligno had also been a healthy scratch two of the last five games.

"We're just sending him down to play, be important, get ice time and develop as a future guy who's going to play a lot of minutes and a lot of games in the NHL," said GM Bryan Murray. "We just felt that over the course of the last number of games, he probably didn't get the minutes young players need. And with Spezza coming back in particular now, (Foligno'd) probably get less. So this is important for him and for his career."

Foligno reacted to the demotion with class.

"I knew it was a numbers game and there are a lot of great players on this team," he said. "This is going to be a helluva team for a long time. It was just great to be a part of it while it lasted. Hopefully, I can do well down in Binghamton and come back up here.

"They said the thing they want is their young guys to be playing, and obviously I wasn't playing here, and that's because they have such a great team. I'm disappointed, but I'm looking forward to playing a lot more."

Spezza, who missed six games with a groin injury, was back skating with linemates Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson yesterday. After toying with the idea of splitting up his big three for tonight's game against the Buffalo Sabres, coach John Paddock has reconsidered.

"I think that's where they'll start (tonight)," said Paddock. "The opposition, we'll let them do whatever they want to do to play against them and try and stop them.

WHY SPLIT THEM UP?

"In some ways it messes things up no matter what, because (Mike Fisher) was playing pretty good (as Spezza's replacement). But I think it's the easiest thing for Jason to slide back into. He'll be playing with one of them, whenever I decide to mix them up for a game ... so I guess the bigger question I ask myself is why split up Heatley and Alfredsson?"

Spezza has no fear of being rusty.

"I imagine things will come back pretty quick," he said.

The Sabres, meanwhile, are in a bad way. They have won just once in their last six games and have scored just three goals in their last four. The class of the conference a year ago, they are currently lodged in the Northeast basement with a 6-9-1 record.

"We know we're playing a desperate hockey club," said Spezza. "We know how we felt last year, when we were in that position." 


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