Sens won't live off history

DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

The changes in the Senators' dressing room this season included the removal of the Stanley Cups that were painted on the wall commemorating championships won by the original Ottawa NHLers.

In their place is the team's name followed by its 2008-09 slogan.

All In. Whatever It Takes.

"I like it," Jason Spezza said yesterday. "It's what's being preached to us. It's good to have it showing prevalent in the dressing room.

"If we win a Stanley Cup, I think they'll probably put a nice Stanley Cup up there. But until we win a Stanley Cup, I think the old-school Senators can celebrate their own Cups, and when we win, we can celebrate ours."

Spezza believes despite numerous roster changes, the Senators could sip from the coveted mug next June.

"Definitely, I think so," he said. "We've got a good club. It takes a lot of work, a lot of things have got to go right, a lot of guys have got to stay healthy. But we feel we've got just as good a chance as anybody else."

The finalization of the roster that will begin the championship chase will take place over the next two days -- in a home-and-home series with the Montreal Canadiens -- when coach Craig Hartsburg and his staff chooses the 24 players who on Sunday night will fly to Sweden and toward the Oct. 4 season opener in Stockholm against Pittsburgh.

While goalies Martin Gerber, Alex Auld and Brian Elliott already have reserved seats, injuries or sudden surprises would likely be all that prevents the Penguins from seeing: Dany Heatley-Spezza-Jesse Winchester, Antoine Vermette-Chris Kelly-Daniel Alfredsson, Jarkko Ruutu-Mike Fisher-Chris Neil, Nick Foligno-Cody Bass and either Dean McAmmond or Shean Donovan.

Christoph Schubert could also figure into the forward equation if he doesn't crack a defensive corps that will have Anton Volchenkov, Chris Phillips, Jason Smith and Filip Kuba as its Top 4, with Alexandre Picard and Brian Lee, Brendan Bell or Luke Richardson as its 5-6 pairing.

After three years as a swingman, Schubert is more adamant than ever that he wants to settle into a full-time job on the blue line and leave his left-wing playing days behind.

"I know he wants to be a defenceman but you know what, he wants to play in the NHL," said Hartsburg. "I think it's great a player like that can do both."

"I'm not going to say no," he said when asked about playing left wing. "But I said from the beginning, I want to be back there. That's what I'm fighting for right now. The coaches told me before camp ... focus on being on defence, and that's what I'm doing. (They said) it's not going to be back and forth anymore."

Also battling for what he wants is Foligno, who started camp at centre and has since been shifted back to the wing. One of Ottawa's top forwards in its last game against the Penguins in the playoffs, the 20-year-old would seem to be a back-up plan if Winchester fails to establish himself as capable of playing with Spezza and Heatley. Right now, that's not happening.

"Obviously, I didn't have the start (to camp) I wanted, but I've just got to keep working hard," said Foligno. "Obviously, I want to be a top-line guy. But you've got to work hard for that opportunity, it's not given to you."


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