HALIFAX — When he learned he was dealt to the Senators, Milan Michalek picked up the phone and called a friend for an advance scouting report on Ottawa.
Michalek, traded by the Sharks to the Senators along with Jonathan Cheechoo for Dany Heatley, sought out advice from former Senators winger Martin Havlat, who he spent part of the summer training with in Montreal.
“(Havlat) was pretty excited and he told me he really enjoyed playing in Ottawa. He told me all about the city, all the things that he liked and he told me I should be fine here,” said Michalek.
The 24-year-old, 6-foot-2 Michalek didn’t see the deal coming. He knew Sharks GM Doug Wilson was determined to make changes when the club was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
The possibility of being included in a deal crossed his mind, but Michalek erased it once he reported to camp.
“I thought during the summer that nobody was safe,” said Michalek, who was expected to arrive in Ottawa late last night and be on the ice this morning at Scotiabank Place. “When they told me I had been traded, it came as a surprise to me.
“I’m actually excited about Ottawa. I know they have great players because they’re a team I watch a lot. I had great years in San Jose, but hockey is a business and you have to be prepared to move on.”
Michalek said he and Cheechoo can contribute. They have played on the same line in San Jose in the past, but he isn’t sure what Senators coach Cory Clouston has planned with the line combinations .
“I’ve got to play my game. I’m the kind of player that has to use my size and skill to go to the net,” said Michalek. “Cheech is a great player and he always works hard. Hopefully, we can bring a lot to this team and it’s going to work out for everybody.”