Right to points

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

Mike Comrie sat by himself in the Senators dressing room Monday, the roving scrum of TV cameras moving from goaltender Ray Emery to captain Daniel Alfredsson.

Comrie was flying a bit below the radar on this day, but that won't last for long.

Comrie, as things have evolved, shapes up as general manager John Muckler's big in-season acquisition, joining the Senators from the Coyotes Jan. 3 in exchange for Alexei Kaigorodov.

Comrie's $3-million salary this season -- a $1.5-million cap hit for the Senators -- ate up pretty much all that was left of the Senators' cap room when Muckler made the deal.

Acquired when centres Jason Spezza and Mike Fisher were out with knee injuries, Comrie was needed to fill a big hole.

'HE'S A FINISHER'

He was originally seen more long term as the second-line centre the Senators have seemingly been looking for, oh, forever, but has wound up on the wing.

When talk turns to secondary scoring behind the top line of Spezza, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson, so important in the playoffs, Comrie's name is near the top of the list.

"Very definitely we need him to do what he is capable of doing and that's getting points, making plays in tight. He's a finisher. That's the only way we're going to have a chance is if guys like him step up," said coach Bryan Murray, not putting too fine a point on it. "In the role he's playing right now, he definitely has to be good in the offensive zone. I think he's tried to work harder up and down the ice over the last number of games."

Comrie, 26, has had ups and downs. After coming over to the Senators, he had 13 goals and 12 assists in 41 games. He wound up with 20 goals, the fourth time in five NHL seasons he's hit that mark.

Comrie has been streaky, scoring four goals in four games, going five without, scoring another four in six games, then just one in 18.

It's encouraging for the Senators that Comrie finished strongly with four goals in his last five games as he settled into a spot on the right side with Fisher in the middle and Peter Schaefer on the left.

Whether it's a trade, nagging injury, line juggling or playing out of position, none of that matters now.

"This time of year, there aren't any excuses," he said. "You can sit here and say you're hurt, you can say you're not comfortable in your situation, but when the puck drops, there should be only one thing on your mind and that's winning the game you're playing."

Comrie has bounced around from the fourth to the first lines. He's gone from playing a high of 21 minutes and 24 seconds in his second game with the Senators to a low of 4:43 against the Leafs March 8. His average with the Senators was 14:27.

DEPTH ADVANTAGE

He said the team will be better off for the line juggling.

"If you look at our roster, one of the things we take advantage of is our depth. We got guys that can step in and play any role, we've got guys who can play forward and defence, we've got guys that might not be dressing that could be playing a lot of minutes. That's very valuable in the playoffs. I think we can see what the other teams are doing and take advantage of our depth situation.

"But we also have to focus on our game plan and not worry too much about our opponents. We're a good enough hockey team to focus on what we need to do."

Comrie has two goals and two assists in 12 NHL playoff games, all with the Oilers.

This marks his return to the playoffs after a two-year absence with the Coyotes.

"It's exciting to be in the position we're in," said Comrie. "We're playing against a great, young hockey team that gets a lot of exposure for a reason. We all feel it's going to be a great series and a challenge that we're excited about."


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