With three blasts of his whistle Friday, Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean brought his team's mini training camp to a close.
League business is back on the rails. The opening day lineup is set. The lessons have been drilled into his players' heads — as much as they can be with only a week to prepare.
Now all that's left to do is drop the puck.
"We're really excited, looking forward to the opportunity that this short season presents, not only for us, but for the whole league," MacLean said after running his charges through their last on-ice workout.
"I think everyone's frustration level (over the NHL lockout) reached a lot of points in the last four months, but I think now that we're back to getting on the ice and playing the game, I think everyone's excited and we're looking forward to it."
MacLean still had a few pieces of business to take care of prior to the Senators' season opener Saturday afternoon at the MTS Centre against the Jets, however.
First up: Naming a starting goalie. There had been some speculation that MacLean might turn to either goalie of the future Robin Lehner or backup Ben Bishop, both of whom have made plenty of quality starts with AHL Binghamton this season. That would have given top netminder Craig Anderson more time to prepare after a long layoff.
In the end, MacLean decided to go with the man who got them into the playoffs a year ago.
His reasoning was succinct: "He's our No. 1 goalie."
Lehner will serve as backup before a likely trip back to Binghamton, thanks in large part to the two-way contract that makes it easy for the team to send him down.
Senators ready to drop the puck
Ottawa Citizen | Jan 19