Sens set to get game on

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

The Ottawa Senators have had plenty of time to rest since their European adventure to start the season.

Now, they're just feeling restless.

While the Senators were happy to have time to recover after opening the regular season against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Stockholm, they'll be just as pleased when a stretch of one game in 11 days comes to an end tomorrow against the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Senators will suddenly be busy with back-to-back games vs. Phoenix and Boston on Saturday at Scotiabank Place, and coach Craig Hartsburg is looking forward to his team getting back into a groove.

"It's time to get playing some games," Hartsburg said. "Your biggest fear after having such a layoff is that other teams are in that competitive mood. (Today) we've got to get ourselves ready to compete. The Sweden part, getting back and getting adjusted, we've got to put behind us. We've got to start getting back into that game mentality for (tomorrow) night."

The Senators will likely be begging for this kind of practice time later in the year, but right now they are just anxious to get some meaningful game action under their belt.

Hartsburg has tried to make the most of the break by sending a message about how he wants his team to play -- stressing sound, two-way hockey.

Hartsburg isn't trying to turn the likes of Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza into defensive wizards. Instead, he just wants his players to be responsible at both ends of the ice. He'd also like to see the club cut down on its turnovers.

"We'd prefer to be playing games now, but I think it gives (Hartsburg) good time to preach what he wants our team to be, what style he wants it to be and he's really hammered that home during the practices because he can teach a lot," said Spezza.

Spezza said there has been an adjustment period as the team adapts to its new coach.

"What you see is different philosophies," said Spezza.

"Everybody emphasizes different things a little bit more than other guys. (Hartsburg) is really emphasizing puck speed and a real up-tempo game. He really wants us to be a tough team to play against by cycling the puck and working the puck low."

OFF THE GLASS

Senators F Nick Foligno continued to skate on the right wing alongside Spezza and Heatley yesterday. "We've only had a coupe of practices together, but (Foligno) is playing really well right now," said Spezza. "Each guy brings a different twist to the line and we'll see what (Foligno) brings." ... A couple of familiar faces will be in town with the Coyotes tomorrow. Not only will coach Wayne Gretzky be behind the bench, but former Senators GM John Muckler -- who is working with the club as a special consultant -- is also expected to be at Scotiabank Place. Meanwhile, former Ottawa tough guy Brian McGrattan, who was dealt to Phoenix in the off-season, will also be here. He has yet to dress for a game this season.


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