Shean Donovan has decided heís going to play hockey this season.
Heís just not sure where.
Only 49 games shy of reaching the 1,000 milestone in his NHL career, the 35-year-old winger, a Carleton Place native who has suited up the past three years for the Senators, would like play one more year.
But with time ticking away toward the opening of training camps and with more than 40-50 unrestricted free agents still looking for work, Donovan isnít sure heíll get that one last opportunity.
ďI just want the chance to play. Thatís the most important thing to me,Ē said Donovan Thursday.
While Donovanís lawyer Larry Kelly has talked to a couple of NHL teams that might be looking for help, there havenít been any solid offers.
While Donovan has been delaying a decision, there are two good offers from teams in Europe. Heíd like to wait a little longer to see what happens on the NHL front.
In 951 career games, Donovan, drafted by San Jose in 1993, has 112 goals and 129 assists, with 705 penalty minutes. He has established himself as solid penalty killer throughout his career.
ďI know a lot of the European teams are in training camp, so a decision has to be made there soon,Ē said Donovan.
ďIf I get a feel here in the next couple of weeks and if Larry tells me that thereís pretty much no chance of me playing (in the NHL), Iíve told him Iím pretty realistic.
ďIf thereís no chance of me getting a deal, then Iíll be okay with Europe and weíll make a decision about where weíre going to go in Europe. The decision is going to be about my family and whatís the best situation for them.Ē
Donovan has worked hard to stay in shape this summer. He has been skating with Senators winger Chris Neil and some of his family on a regular basis. This week, Donovan is focusing on training in the gym.
Donovan played only a limited role with the Senators, struggling with a knee injury that forced him to miss 14 games last season.
ďIíve told every team Iíve spoken with in Europe that Iím committed to trying to play in the NHL first,Ē said Donovan. ďIím just going to wait until training camp. Iíve let them know thatís where Iím at.
ďI will play somewhere. A couple of (NHL) teams have said they were interested, but every team has been dealing with things like arbitrations and getting their own free agents signed.
ďI donít really know what Iím going to do here.Ē
Donovan said the indecision has been hard on his wife Teresa.
ďWherever we go, itís going to be the same for me because Iíll walk into the dressing room and have instant friends,Ē said Donovan. ďThe biggest adjustment will be for Teresa and the family.Ē