Campoli set to go on offensive

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:00 PM ET

WASHINGTON Being benched didnt sit well with Chris Campoli.

After being a healthy scratch for two straight games, the veteran defenceman is ready to get back on the ice and contribute in a positive way.

Campoli will return to the lineup Sunday against the Capitals at the Verizon Center. He will likely take Brian Lees spot.

After going minus-4 against Boston Tuesday, Campoli can understand why Senators coach Cory Clouston sat him out for a couple of games, but that didnt make watching the games in street clothes any easier for the veteran.

For me, I know I just have to play better, Campoli said Saturday. Ive been consistent, but I didnt have my best game in Boston. Im looking forward to helping (Sunday). I plan on being better.

Cloustons decision to sit Campoli against his former team on Long Island Thursday was a bit of a surprise. Campoli always enjoys suiting up against the Islanders and Campoli has been one of Ottawas better blueliners on many nights.

Since Clouston wasnt about to change the winning formula for Fridays tilt against the Flames, it wasnt a shock Campoli didnt get in the lineup for a second straight game.

While Campoli has played reasonably well this season, the club wants more out of him offensively. Campoli has just one goal and seven points in 43 games.

The defensive end of his game has improved over the last year, said Clouston. We need him to generate offence. We need him to be involved in the rush. We need him to be in that second wave.

We need him to get that shot through, help out our second power-play unit. Those are the areas we need him to help this club out because right now were not getting the offence.

Clouston said he didnt mind Campoli getting upset about being asked to take a seat.

We talked to him. Weve had a couple of discussions, said Clouston. Hes not happy. We dont want a player to be happy when he sits down. We want him to be motivated.

We want him to understand where the areas are we need him to improve and go out there to follow up with that.

Campoli, who could be trade bait at the Feb. 28 deadline, said he tried to take something positive out of Cloustons decision.

(Clouston) said he wanted more out of me offensively and thats understandable, said Campoli. In the past, Ive been a guy thats created offence and offensive opportunities.

This year, Ive come a long way personally with my game. Hes given me more responsibility offensively, killing penalties and, at certain points of the game, playing against top lines or second lines. Ive earned that trust from him. I just think Boston was a tough night for me. It was a bump in the road and the reality is when the teams losing theres to be changes.

MICHALEK HEATING UP

Milan Michalek feels good.

He suddenly looks good on the ice as well.

In a season where plenty of players in an Ottawa uniform have struggled, the Senators winger finally appears to be coming around after scoring his 10th goal of the season with 58 seconds left in a 3-2 loss to the Flames Friday.

Coming off knee surgery last spring, Michalek, acquired in the Dany Heatley deal from the Sharks, told reporters hes finally feeling almost 100%.

In the last two weeks, Ive finally been able to get my legs going and Im a little bit loose, said Michalek, who has 10 goals and 18 points in 41 games.

I just hope that its going to keep going like that.

BLACK AND BLUE REPORT

C Jason Spezza (right shoulder) skated Saturday in full equipment, but isnt able to shoot the puck ... RW Alex Kovalev (knee) isnt ready to return but could resume skating Monday ... G Pascal Leclaire (hip/groin/back) is still undergoing tests to determine whether hell play again this season. No surgery is required at this point but doctors havent completed their testing to make a final determination.


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