It will be a weekend of final auditions for a number of players at Senators camp.
After a home-and-home set with the Canadiens (Friday in Montreal, Saturday at Scotiabank Place), the axe will fall.
Senators GM Bryan Murray told the Ottawa Sun Thursday that he expects to cut down the 48-man roster Monday.
He’ll need to, as Binghamton is set to open camp on Wednesday in Newfoundland.
“There hasn’t been a battle because there hasn’t been an opportunity for some of them to battle,” said Murray. “When we get through these games and (Tuesday) in Dundas (against Buffalo), the last three games are really meant to see if guys can play or not.
“We still want to give an opportunity to a lot of guys and there’s a number of players who haven’t had a chance to play yet. Those guys will get their games.”
So far in camp, Murray has liked the performance of forwards Jesse Winchester and Zack Smith.
“Jesse looks stronger, he looks really motivated and seems more confident around the net and he’s shooting the puck better in practice. He’s going to be hard to keep off a good spot on the team,” said Murray.
“Smith has come in and been really good. I thought (Wednesday) he came in late in the game and played (well). He’s had an excellent camp. He was a guy we pencilled in as having a chance to play and, right now in my mind, he’s fulfilling the promise.”
Senators F Ryan Shannon, who was hurt Wednesday against the Leafs, didn’t practise Thursday. Shannon, who has a history of concussion problems, was hit into the glass by Toronto’s Jay Rosehill. “I feel a lot better. It was just a precaution. I got my bell rung and because of my history, (the Senators) just wanted to be careful,” said Shannon. Shannon didn’t think the hit was dirty. “After seeing the replay, I’m a little disappointed because I left myself a little open to it,” he said. “I don’t think it was a dirty play by any means. I didn’t see him there. But it was a good wakeup call to get out of summer hockey mode and into battles. I’m pretty fortunate that nothing serious came of it and I can look forward to battling.” He isn’t sure when he’ll be cleared to play.
THIS ’N’ THAT
The Senators will try the trio of Peter Regin-Mike Fisher-Alex Kovalev together in Montreal. The threesome played as a line at times last season. Kovalev hopes they can find success. “The most important thing is to find the chemistry. We can’t be all over the place and chasing the puck, like most of the time last year. We were chasing the puck too much and playing defence too much,” said Kovalev. “We’ve got to focus on controlling the puck a little more, skating more and putting pressure when we have a chance. Just try to spend a little more time in the other end, rather than the defensive zone.” W Nick Foligno will likely get a chance to play with Fisher and Kovalev as well ... Kovalev, a former Hab, wasn’t going to wade into the controversy over the booing G Carey Price received from Montreal fans on Wednesday. “I don’t know. Ask me something about Ottawa, not Montreal,” said Kovalev ... Murray said D Filip Kuba won’t require any further surgery on his broken leg. Kuba left the rink on crutches and will be out a minimum of six weeks.