A-Train stays on track

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

The "A-Train" isn't worried about where his NHL journey will lead him.

A potential unrestricted free agent on July 1, Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov is in position to shop himself around next summer.

GM Bryan Murray and agent Jay Grossman havent held formal talks yet.

Bryan and I have had prior dialogue regarding Antons overall situation, but we havent really sat down and rolled up our sleeves regarding any discussions on a contract and really, were okay with that. We dont have an issue, said Grossman.

Thats because the 27-year-old Volchenkov, who is making $3.2 million this season, is focusing on his play.

His stellar performance Tuesday, including a big hit on Maple Leafs winger Viktor Stalberg, was a key in the 2-1 victory.

The New-York based Grossman met with Volchenkov before the season opener Saturday at Madison Square Garden. They talked about his future, but it was only a small part of the conversation.

Antons first priority is to get off to a good start personally and from a team standpoint. He likes being in Ottawa, said Grossman. He likes the players who have come in. His role is still primarily the same and hes comfortable in it. Hes a no-nonsense guy who wants to get the job done.

Stretch hits home

The Senators finally get a chance to make themselves at home. They were 22-12-7 at home last season and if theyre going to get back to the playoffs, theyre going to have to set the tone with 24 home games between now and Dec. 31. When you look at (this) stretch, its definitely important, said coach Cory Clouston. We feel comfortable at home, we have a confidence playing at home and you want to put (up) as sure you put (up) as many wins on home ice.

Spezza good to go

Noticeable by his absence Wednesday was C Jason Spezza, but he will suit up vs. the Isles. Clouston said Spezza is nursing bumps and bruises. Jesse Winchester skated in Spezzas spot between Milan Michalek and Daniel Alfredsson. Winchester, recovering from a knee injury and skating with the team for the first time in two weeks, isnt sure when hell return. I felt really good. Ive been by myself for the last four days and, obviously, this was a lot more fun, said Winchester. I have some pretty good jump and my legs are strong, so its just a matter of getting cleared to play.

Around the boards

Coming off his first win as a Senator, G Pascal Leclaire will start again tonight. Expect Brian Elliott to face the Thrashers Saturday. Hes played very well in practice, said Clouston ... Christmas is more than two months away, but Michalek already wants his two front teeth, which he lost on a hit from Leafs D Luke Schenn. Michalek stopped at the dentist on his way home from the airport Tuesday. He just filled it, said Michalek. Im going to have to go back there next week.

Selling points

The Islanders have found another way to cash in on John Tavares. Noting his two-point NHL debut Saturday was an amazing night, the Isles are selling pieces of the goal netting on their website. Prices range from $91.91 (Tavares wears No. 91) to a mere $369.91, for which you also get a signed photo and replica of the scoresheet.

Healthy weight

The Isles have C Doug Weight back from a groin injury that has kept him out since Sept. 16. This team is pretty healthy and thats important, said Weight. With a young team, if youre not healthy, that can be a big problem. LW Rob Schremp, claimed on waivers from Edmonton, will make his debut, while LW Blake Comeau returns from illness.

Injuries

Senators: D Filip Kuba (lower body), day-to-day; C Ryan Shannon (head), indefinite; C Jesse Winchester (knee), one week. Isles: G Rick DiPietro (knee), questionable; C Frans Nielsen (knee), indefinite.

Odds 'n' ends

Senators RW Jarkko Ruutu will suit up for his 500th NHL game ... The Senators will officially open Berts Bar at Scotiabank Place. Owner Eugene Melnyk and Bert Inniss, founder of Berts in Barbados, will be on hand for the ceremony at 5:30 p.m. ... The Senators were 1-3 vs. the Isles last season. We cant take them lightly, said Chris Phillips.


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