Sens' hit parade features a really big Schu

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

The Senators will bring a weapon into the playoffs they were not packing last year.

A 6-foot-3, 237-lb. German missile.

Christoph Schubert's role will be much the same as it was throughout the regular season when, as a natural blueliner who was playing mostly on the left wing, he was largely effective in his seek-and-destroy attack on retreating defencemen.

Schubert's fluid skating combined with his penchant for big hits should keep the Penguins peeking over their shoulder, much the same way Chris Neil and Mike Fisher will. The emphasis on the physical aspect of the game is greater in the playoffs, both to wear down opponents and force mistakes.

"I think it's really important, especially the first game and the first five or 10 minutes, when you can really set the tone," said Schubert, who dressed for seven of Ottawa's 10 playoff games last spring.

"It's really important for me, Neiler and Fishy to go in and finish our checks early on them. Maybe it pumps the guys up a little bit."

Primarily with fourth-line ice time, Schubert registered 159 hits during the season, which trailed only Neil's NHL-leading 288, Anton Volchenkov's 205 and Fisher's 195 among Senators.

Schubert's been "involved" in his previous playoff experiences. Over two years with the Munich Barons, he had 59 penalty minutes in 19 post-season games. And in his last playoff experience with the AHL Binghamton Senators, Schubert had 20 PIMs to go along with two goals and two assists in six games.

NO YAPPING

This, from a guy who doesn't fight and doesn't yap.

"I don't really talk much on the ice, I'd rather go in and finish my hit," said Schubert. "There are other people on this team that can chirp, that can run their mouth a little ... I'll leave that up to the other guys."

Schubert's future in Ottawa will most certainly be as a defenceman, which suits him more than fine. As reluctant as he was to settle into the rotation as a winger, the 25-year-old admits he feels a little more confident in what he's doing up front now than he did at the start of the year.

"Am I enjoying it? I enjoy being able to help the team. As long as I can help the team, I'm doing the right job. This year, I can live with the job," he said. "What's going to happen in the future, we'll see. Maybe I feel more comfortable now than my first game, but it's not that easy."

The addition to his resume will only help Schubert, who is set to become a restricted free agent in July.

But he's not concerned about contract talk now.

''I love this, I always have a blast playing in the playoffs," said Schubert. "You've got to enjoy these times."


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