|Jason Spezza (l-r), Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson are unlikely to play together to start the season. (Sun Media/Blair Gable)
KITCHENER -- Craig Hartsburg isn't waiting to shake things up in his first season behind the Senators' bench.
As the players prepare to report for medicals tomorrow at Scotiabank Place, Hartsburg told Sun Media that he's breaking up the trio of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson.
While Heatley and Spezza will stay together, Hartsburg wants Alfredsson on another line -- possibly with centre Mike Fisher -- to create a more balanced attack.
"We're going to keep Spezza and Heatley together to start training camp, but we have to find other combinations that can work," said Hartsburg.
"We know that line (Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson) can work, but does that make us a good team or a bad team if we have to put those guys together to create offence?
'ENOUGH OTHER PLAYERS'
"I don't think it makes us a stronger team to have to play those three guys together. There's enough other players there, that if they're playing with an Alfredsson, that we can create something.
"Mike Fisher, whether he plays with Alfredsson or on another line, he's a good enough player that he's going to be a great two-way player. But he can be a great defensive player as well. We want players who are going to be good offensively, but will play well defensively as well. I think that's key."
Hartsburg, who has been shuffling the lines on paper since he was hired in June, admitted they are a work in progress and nothing is written in stone.
"That's going to be a process right through camp," said Hartsburg. "We want to have more balance and personally, I'd like to have three lines that can all contribute offensively, maybe not equally, but all can contribute and all are very responsible.
"Then, I want a fourth line that is a miserable, competitive, high-energy group that people don't like play against and gets an opportunity to contribute as well."
Much was made of Spezza and Heatley's playoff performance and they're going to be relied on heavily to get the Senators back to being contenders. But moving Alfredsson isn't about muzzling offence. Rather, the Senators want Spezza and Heatley to be more consistent -- at both ends of the ice.
GM Bryan Murray said both players must bring their games to another level.
"I want them to work hard and I saw where Jason said he's figured out how to be that helper without the puck," said Murray. "If he works hard and does a little better job without the puck, we know he'll get his points.
"I know after speaking with Heatley after the world championships (in May, where he was named MVP) that he wants to be a really important guy on our team and for it to be his team some nights. I'd like him to step up. It comes to the same thing: He's got to score because that's what his role is, but just help out when you don't have the puck."