Under the daunting spotlight of a nationally televised game in Canada, Senators coach Paul Maclean said he expects the three rookies to relish the opportunity and stick to the basics.
“We just want them to be them; we are not asking anyone to be anybody that they can’t be,” Maclean said. “Just come and play and enjoy it. It’s a great spot to show everyone you can play in the League.”
Maclean’s advice may be primarily directed at 24-year-old Gryba, who will replace Karlsson in the lineup.
“I’d rather be thrown into the fire right away,” Gryba said. “I usually do a [pregame] nap but we will see today if I can settle the nerves enough to catch some Z’s.”
Karlsson, the reigning Norris Trophy winner, is expected to miss the remainder of this season after lacerating the Achilles tendon in his left leg. The injury occurred Wednesday when Karlsson was checked against the boards by Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke.
It is expected he will play left wing on the fourth line in place of Frazer McLaren.