|Senators goaltender Craig Anderson squares off against the Colorado Avalanche, the team that traded him to Ottawa last February, for the first time tonight at Scotiabank Place (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images).
Craig Anderson, by nature, is most definitely a half-glass full kind of guy.
So it's probably no real surprise that the Senators goaltender isn't entering tonight's game with the Colorado Avalanche — the team that dealt him to Ottawa last February — with an abundance of revenge in his heart.
"It's just another two points on the board," the mild-mannered Senators stopper said following the Senators' pre-game skate in advance of this evening's matchup with the Avs at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m., Sportsnet East, Team 1200).
Indeed, the 30-year-old Anderson prefers to leave the focus on the team that now employs him. And could move back up to the .500 mark tonight with a second straight home-ice win.
"In this game, you meet a lot of great people and you get to know a lot of people in this league," he said. "And at the end of the day, when you're off the ice and it's not a game day, you're friends with a lot of them. But when the puck drops, it's all business and you have no friends but the friends on your (current) team.
"What's happened is the past and you just have to look forward. One door close and another one opens, so you've just got to look forward and be optimistic about ever situation you get put into."
Colorado seemed like the right situation for Anderson two seasons ago, when his standout goaltending — he made 71 appearances between the pipes — helped a young Avs team to a surprising playoff berth and a near-upset of the San Jose Sharks in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
But when the Avalanche fell out of contention in the 2010-11 campaign, they chose to unload Anderson — a pending unrestricted free agent and shipped him to Ottawa in exchange for fellow netminder Brian Elliott.
"You're always surprised when you get traded," said Anderson, who's steady play over 18 games with the Senators earned him a new four-year contract. "You pour out your heart and soul with the guys in that room and the last thing you want to do is shake their hand and bid farewell.
"It's always tough when those situations happen, but you've got to be optimistic about the new situation you're coming into and start fresh. There's always building blocks to build on."
"In this game, you meet a lot of great people and you get to know a lot of people in this league. And at the end of the day, when you're off the ice and it's not a game day, you're friends with a lot of them. But when the puck drops, it's all business and you have no friends but the friends on your (current) team." - Craig Anderson
The Senators would like to build on the momentum of Tuesday's thrilling 4-3 shootout triumph over the Minnesota Wild in their home-opener. And Senators centre Jason Spezza, for one, believes Anderson won't allow the appearance of his former team to be a distraction in his quest for victory tonight.
"It always matters a little bit to have a good showing (against your former team)," he said. "But I think he's more focused on getting wins, playing solid and getting us back to .500."
Butler, Lee making return to Senators lineup
After sitting out the previous two games, forward Bobby Butler returns to the lineup this evening along with blueliner Brian Lee. That means centre Zenon Konopka and winger Erik Condra will be tonight's scratches, with head coach Paul MacLean choosing to employ seven defencemen and 11 forwards.
Between stints in Ottawa and with the Binghamton Senators last season, Butler totalled 40 goals. His scoring touch hasn't been nearly effective so far this fall, but MacLean is confident the time is right for the former University of New Hampshire standout to bust loose.
"We're going to give Bobby the opportunity to do what he does," said MacLean. "It's hard to learn the game without playing the game. He's been diligent and worked hard in practice on his skating and defensive game and we can't just keep sitting him out."
Said Butler: "I've just got to play how I know to play. Be confident and shoot the pucks ... When I get the chance (to score), I've got to bury it. I've got to focus on playing well defensively and the offence will come."
Around the boards
The Senators will break out their new heritage jerseys for the first time in tonight's game, and they're enthused about showing off the distinctive look. "It's No. 1, the best (jersey) we've ever had," said Spezza. "We're excited to get them on. I think unanimously, the guys love them. You talk to fans, friends, family, everybody ... they seem to love them. So we're excited to wear them." ... The Senators have re-assigned forward Nikita Filatov to the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League ... Pat Nighbor, the son of Senators legend Frank Nighbor, will take part in the ceremonial faceoff before tonight's game ... The teams last met on Dec. 17, 2010, at the Pepsi Center in Denver, when Matt Duchene's overtime goal gave the Avs a 6-5 win ... Fewer than 1,000 tickets remain for tonight's game.