In preparation to host the game between the B-Sens and Marlies at Canadian Tire Centre on February 15th (all tickets are under $20, get yours here) we caught up with a few current Senators who represented the team's AHL affiliate in past games.
What was it like to play for the Binghamton Senators here in Ottawa?
You don't get to play in any buildings like this in the American league. Everyone wants to make it to this level so you get a little taste of what it's like. You also get to show the fans, management and coaches what you can do. It's definitely a great opportunity for guys to showcase themselves.
It was fun for the players to be in the Sens locker room and to see what it would be like to play for the Ottawa Senators in front of a lot of fans. It's good motivation to keep working hard down there so you can have a chance to maybe one day play for the Ottawa.
It was awesome. Obviously you knew their was going to be a lot of exposure to management and the coaching staff for the big club so you always wanted to make sure to bring your "A" game. For me it was extra special being in my home town. I was always really excited for those games and they were fun to play in.
It's the first time you really get that NHL feel. You get dressed in the locker room, you're playing in front of Ottawa fans which you hope you can do again someday at the NHL level. It's a great experience and you know the coaches and management are watching so you want to play a good game.
It was fun. I had already played some games up here before that game so it was kind of weird. I had already been called up a few times and played in this building and I was back a few months later playing for Binghamton. It's a really fun experience though. It gives you a little taste of what could be if you put in the work.
Obviously this is the arena you want to end up playing in so to get to come up here and play in the atmosphere of an NHL rink was a neat experience.
Was that game a big deal to the guys in Binghamton?
I think it was something most guys had marked on the calendar. I know for myself, I was really pumped up to come and play here. You try and play the best that you can because there are a lot of eyes in the stands that are watching you so you definitely want to put on a good performance.
For all the prospects, it is a big deal. You know people who make the decision in your hockey future are watching so you really had to make sure you were ready to go.
They're always good games. The rivalry of the big clubs always play into it as well. It's a very cool experience.
You always want to come out on the winning end of this game. For the prospects, you want to give a little more and show the Ottawa fans what you can do.
Yeah. It's a big deal. Everyone's here, management, the coahces and the fans. It's a great opportunity for them to see the depth that the organization has.
What was it like to have Ottawa Senators fans come out and support you guys for that game?
It gives us that extra energy we need. It's a long season and coming here gives you a little boost.
I think more than most of the prospects realize is that the fans up here are keeping tabs on them. I think it's a good chance for fans up here to see some faces that they'll hopefully see in the future.
It was cool. I think it's a great experience for them too. Obviously they know some of the top prospects but there are other guys down there that are good players and it's fun for the fans here to see what else we have on the depth chart.
It was actually really great. Both games I played in had really good turn-outs. It's nice to see they show interest and support for the entire system.
It's nice to know they support the whole organization including the young guys. They get to watch the young guys coming up and see what the future might hold.
What do you remember about the game you played in?
It was cool to see the support we got. The Ottawa fans were really good to us. They came out and were very supportive of us. We always had a good crowd.
Everyone was trying so hard, sticking to defense and playing the right way. It's good solid hockey.
I was more nervous playing up here than in just another AHL barn. They were definitely cool games but I had a few extra butterflies at the start of them.
Any advice you'd pass along to the guys playing in this year's game?
Just enjoy it. You know all the staff and fans will be here to support them. I know a lot of the guys and I know they'll do good.
Every game you want to play your absolute best but this one can help you get on the fan's radar. This one you should definitely try and get ready for.
I think they should enjoy it. Use the crowd to their advantage and just play their game.
Just play your game. You play in some big buildings down therewith big crowds so I don't think that's any different. Just in the back of your mind know that management and the coaching staff are here.
Just come up and play. There's going to be people watching. Management is going to be here and they'll get the chance to see you a bit closer.