NEW YORK - Colin Greening is built for speed.
Now, he’ll get a chance to test his jets against some of the NHL’s best in the skills competition taking place Jan. 28 as the rookie winger was one of the 12 players named to the YoungStars game by the league Thursday.
Greening got the news in a phone call from coach Paul MacLean as he was leaving Madison Square Garden following the morning skate.
“He said, ‘Congratulations, you were named to the rookie all-star team.’ Yeah, it was great,” said Greening.
Last month at the Senators skills competition, Greening broke his own club record by skating around the ice in 13.434 seconds. He was just shy of the league mark of 13.386 seconds held by retired Washington forward Mike Gartner.
“I will probably be doing the skating, it has become something I’ve gotten pretty good at,” said Greening.
Greening said he would have lobbied for Jared Cowen.
“I think Jared should have definitely been invited,” said Greening. “He’s been playing really well. He’s worked his way up to a lot more minutes, especially on the power play. To me, he’s more of a rookie than I am.”
KING ERIK RETURNS
The Senators had D Erik Karlsson back after a one-game absence with an upper-body injury he suffered before the Pittsburgh game Tuesday. “I feel a lot better. Everything is going as planned and it shouldn’t give me any problems,” said Karlsson. He said he was hurt preparing for the game and re-aggravated an older injury. “It happened during the warmup when I was doing things on my own. It was just a little tweak and it didn’t feel very good at all,” said Karlsson. “I’ve had it before, but not this bad and not before a game. We played it safe and it turned out pretty good anyway. It was the right thing to do.” Karlsson said he was disappointed he missed the Penguins game. “I was pretty mad at myself and my body right then, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do,” he said. “It was just one game. Instead of playing and not playing well and not being able to help the team, I felt I should take it off and let somebody else contribute.” D Matt Carkner was a healthy scratch against the Rangers.
OFF THE GLASS
The NHL should throw the book at Ruslan Fedotenko. The Rangers winger received only a two-minute penalty for kneeing Senators C Jason Spezza in the first period. It’s doubtful there’ll be any supplemental discipline, but that’s the type of thing they need to get out of the game. “I just braced myself. I thought he was going to hit me in the shoulder,” said Fedotenko. “I didn’t stick out my knee. He just moved his body. I thought it was a bad call.” Fortunately, Spezza was fine and didn’t miss a shift, but you could hear the collective sigh of relief on the Senators bench ... Ottawa C Kyle Turris saw a familiar face across the ice. He and Rangers D Ryan McDonaugh were college teammates and roommates at the University of Wisconsin ... Can’t accuse the Senators of stage fright in New York. Going into Thursday’s visit, they’d won four straight at MSG because they actually like playing here. “We enjoying playing this team. It’s a great rivalry,” said W Nick Foligno. “They’re obviously a really fun team to play against. They’re really good and they work really hard. We match up well because we’re the same type of team.”
THIS ’N’ THAT
What do you do on an off-night in Manhattan? Zenon Konopka hooked up with former Islanders teammates John Tavares and P.A. Parenteau to take in the Knicks-76ers NBA game at MSG. Konopka had the best seat in the house. “We were courtside. These are my good buddies from last year,” said Konopka. “Those guys were able to get the tickets.” Konopka said director Spike Lee was sitting “in his regular seats” and that Rangers W Marian Gaborik was there too. “Gaborik is a bigger star than any of us,” said Konopka with a smile. “My buddy (Knicks G) Baron Davis wasn’t playing so I got a couple of high-fives from him and I was able to use one of the Knicks towels to wipe my face after eating popcorn. It was quite a night.” ... The Senators took their seventh bench minor in the first when they were given a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty. The Oilers lead the league with eight and Detroit has seven as well ... Rangers D Dan Girardi has to cancel his all-star weekend plans to come to Ottawa.
THE LAST WORD
Konopka had a spirited fight with Brandon Prust in the first period. After fighting twice last season, they got together again for another bout. A good battle and Konopka’s 13th fight of the year.