Vermette moves up pecking order

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:38 AM ET

Antoine Vermette will get his chance to shine.

The Senators winger, who has never been shy about saying he wants to have more of an offence role, is going to get every opportunity to put up some numbers with the club hit hard by injuries.

While Senators coach John Paddock appeared to be thrusting Vermette into a new role Saturday at Scotiabank Place by putting him on a line with Mike Fisher and Daniel Alfredsson, that only lasted a couple of shifts in the club's 7-3 victory over the Thrashers.

After Fisher left in the first period with an injury, Chris Kelly was placed between Vermette and Alfredsson and judging by yesterday's practice, that's the way it will stay tomorrow against the Bruins in Boston.

"I am always looking to get bigger responsibilities," said Vermette. "I've never tried to hide it, really, since I came here. I've always wanted to prove myself by having a more offensive role. At the same time, I want to play my role within the team structure as well."

Vermette was simply on a roll against Atlanta, finishing with a three-point game. He used his speed against Atlanta, scored a late goal and set up Kelly by faking a pass and then throwing it out front to his centre, giving the Senators a 2-0 lead.

Vermette wasn't surprised when he arrived on Saturday to learn he would be playing with Fisher and Alfredsson. But when Vermette saw the line combinations, he wanted to make sure he could help the club offensively.

"It's a great opportunity," said Vermette. "(Alfredsson's) so good. He (creates) room and he makes plays by holding on the puck. You play with a guy like him and you make some plays, it's going to give you some confidence. You're going to get better chances."

GREAT PENALTY KILLER

Vermette does a tremendous job killing penalties with Kelly and the duo has worked so well together that Paddock has been hard-pressed to separate them.

"Those are the kinds of guys that are going to have to step it up," said Paddock. "Everybody, including (Vermette) categorizes it (as an offensive role), I just think he has to play.

"There's no more offence than normal expected out of him or the team. He's going to get a chance to play more and he's going to get the chance to generate a bit more offence. He just has to be one of our top six forwards."

Vermette said he will do whatever is asked of him.

"I am a team guy. I don't want to make it personal, attract attention or be a distraction," said Vermette. "Everybody here wants to have more responsibility because you battle so hard for your career.

"You work so hard to get here and you always want to get better. You don't want to be satisfied."

OFF THE GLASS: After Ottawa killed off a two-minute, 5-on-3 disadvantage vs. the Thrashers in the third period on Saturday night, W Dany Heatley admitted he and fellow sin-binner Joe Corvo breathed a sigh of relief. "It was a long two minutes in the box," said Heatley. While Corvo was off for cross-checking, Heatley took an unsportsmanlike for swearing at referee Bill McCreary. "I didn't think what I said crossed the line," said Heatley. "I did swear, but that's kind of a grey area." Of course, the fact the pair stepped out of the box and went in on a 2-on-1 and scored a goal probably curbed the tongue-lashing they got from Paddock ... Senators D Andrej Meszaros didn't practise. Paddock said the blueliner is fine and would be back on the ice today ... W Brian McGrattan said his strained shoulder is fine after Penguins W Georges Laraque fell on him Thursday in a fight in Pittsburgh. "I don't know what he weighs, but it felt like 300 pounds," said McGrattan.


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