If intensity at practice counts for anything, Senators winger Chris Neil is good to go tonight.
Neil, an unpleasant look on his face, dropped his gloves and went after centre Jason Spezza as yesterday's brisk practice wrapped up at Scotiabank Place.
The pair hacked at each other after the formal part of practice was over and players were running through some drills. Teammates jumped between them before any damage was done.
"As soon as he dropped the gloves, I knew it was time to get out of there, stay outside an arm's length," said Spezza, laughing off the incident. "I'll go buy him lunch."
Up to that point, the most noticeable development at practice was a tweaking of the club's top two lines by coach Cory Clouston as he looks to get some offence from the club's top-end players.
The Senators have won two games in a row, thanks mostly to their depth players and goaltender.
You need wins like that over an 82-game season. But when they come at the beginning of the schedule when everybody is anxious to see how the new pieces fit together, it's natural to wonder when the big guns are going to kick it into gear.
Clouston flip-flopped captain Daniel Alfredsson and winger Nick Foligno. Alfredsson will now skate with Mike Fisher and Alex Kovalev and Foligno will be with Spezza and Milan Michalek. Kovalev, Foligno, Spezza and Michalek are each looking for their first goals of the season.
"They should do a great job together," Clouston said of Alfredsson and Kovalev. "Fisher should open up some space for them. They'll be very aggressive on the forecheck and they should be able to create something."
NOT WAITING AROUND
The Senators have seven goals in three games. Alfredsson and rookie Peter Regin lead the Senators with two goals apiece, with others going to defenceman Matt Carkner, who had his first NHL goal in the win over the Islanders Thursday night, Fisher, who scored the OT winner, and grinder Shean Donovan.
While it's still just three games into the season, Clouston obviously isn't waiting around for his top guys to figure it out on their own.
"I think sometimes they're just pressing too hard," said Clouston. "They know they're supposed to do the scoring, and when the third- and fourth-line guys are scoring, I think they feel added pressure. But it's nice to get a couple of wins without them scoring."
Clouston wouldn't name his starter in goal for tomorrow night's game, but expect to see Brian Elliott in net.