Recalled Hale makes case to stay with Sens

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:53 PM ET

Almost four months after his last NHL game, David Hale was steady for the Senators Thursday against the Devils.

It was the kind of performance that - with a young blue line corps on their horizon - had to remind management just how nice it would be to have the 29-year old safety net in the system again next season.

For his part, Hale would like nothing more that to be a veteran that could be relied on to step in when needed for the Senators. Except for being on one of their three pairings all season long, that is.

“I would love to be in that role,” he said. “I know they’ve got guys in Binghamton ... they’ve got a lot of guys for the future.

“You have to be a well rounded defenceman. You have to basically do everything now. I’m working on my game, trying to jump up into the play and do all that stuff. If I can provide a little bit of veteran leadership here that would be nice, for sure.”

Hale, who might have stuck with the Senators throughout the season had it not been for the one-way contract Brian Lee had, missed a few weeks of action in Binghamton with a flu that lingered around the team. He’d been back in action almost a month when the Senators brought him up to play his first NHL game since Nov. 26.

In 15 minutes of action, Hale did his job and kept it simple. He and Lee were the game’s leaders in blocked shots, with four each.

“I found there was a bit of an adjustment period in the first,” said Hale. “Once I wrapped my head around it a little bit, it wasn’t that big of a transition.

“There were a few things I feel I could have done better, but just like everybody else, it’s going to be that way.”

Coach Cory Clouston was satisfied with Hale’s play in the win over the Devils. He called Hale, a former first round pick, a player who compliments those he lines up beside. He doesn’t put up many points, but his main job is to limit the number of goals that are scored on his team when he’s on the ice.

“I think he’s shown with the right team and the right circumstance, if you put him in the right role, he can be effective,” said Clouston. “I think he’s a guy you’ve got to really monitor his minutes, monitor what situation you’re putting him into ... he’s got kind of a quiet competitiveness about him. There’s going to be some ups and downs, which we saw earlier this year, but for the most part he’s a steady guy, you know what you’re going to get from him.”

Who’s going to get it next season is the question.

“I’m just going to go out and take it one game at a time,” said Hale. “Play as hard as I can play and have as much fun as I can.”


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