|Senators blueliner Chris Campoli posed for a photo with New York policeman Tim Cohn after the team took part in some fun and games on the Lasker Rink in New York's Central Park. Cohn, who enjoyed a stint in goal during a handball game, is a fan of the New York Islanders, Campoli's former team.
This wasn't exactly a relaxing stroll in the park.
Actually, it was much, much better than that for the Ottawa Senators, who exchanged a scheduled Wednesday morning of practice for an hour of fun and frolic on the outdoor Lasker Rink in New York's famed Central Park.
"It was a lot of fun," Senators forward Nick Foligno
said after the games of dodgeball and European handball were done. "We had a great time out there, as you could probably see today. I think that was the biggest thing. It’s good to get away from the game a little bit and do something different.”
Especially good when you're stuck in the throes of a five-game losing streak, with three more tough road tests staring you in the face – including Thursday night's matchup with the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200).
With that thought in mind, Senators head coach Cory Clouston called off a scheduled practice at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan and let the players have the morning to themselves.
"I think it was a real good opportunity for them to get together in (what was) definitely a less stressful atmosphere," said Clouston. "The timing couldn't be better, to be honest. The guys are working hard but they aren't getting the results and feel a lot of pressure on them. I think it was a real good time to step away from it."
Added centre Mike Fisher: "We got to get away from the game a little bit and have a little bit of fun. It was good. Best ice we’ve skated on all year, I think.”
"I think it was a lot of fun. We forgot about a lot of our problems right now. It was a great day. It's not every day you get a chance to do something like that. It's good just to change the routine a bit ... I think that's what we needed." - Pascal Leclaire
It's a much looser attitude the Senators hope they can take with them through the rest of their five-game road trip, which also sees them in Montreal on Saturday and Boston on Monday.
"I think it was a lot of fun. We forgot about a lot of our problems right now," said goaltender Pascal Leclaire. "It was a great day. It's not every day you get a chance to do something like that. This morning, we weren't sure what we were going to get into, but I think everybody had a lot of fun. It's good just to change the routine a bit ... I think that's what we needed.
“Tomorrow, I think we’re all going to go to the rink with that same mind frame and have fun and take it from there. If we put too much pressure on ourselves, I think we’ll dig a bigger hole. We’re just trying to have fun together and we’ll see what happens.”
Even one of New York's finest joined in the fun. Policeman Tim Cohn, a life-long New York Islanders fan, used his nightstick to help guard the net during the handball game. Then he smiled for a photo with Senators defenceman Chris Campoli, a former Islander.
"It was awesome," Cohn told NHL.com. "I'll never forget it."