|Senators strength and conditioning coach Chris Schwarz measures the body fat on centre Cody Bass during the opening day of the team's annual development camp on Monday at Scotiabank Place (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/OSHC).
Cody Bass knows this situation oh so well.
For the second straight year, the 22-year-old Ottawa Senators centre is coming of a season that ended early because of injury – both of them of a rather fluke nature. And once again, he finds himself facing the prospect of heading to training camp having to prove he’s worthy of full-time employment in the National Hockey League.
“Things haven’t really changed, right?” said Bass, one of 32 prospects arriving at Scotiabank Place today for the beginning of the annual Senators summer development camp. “You go into training camp and when you don’t have a spot, you’re fighting for a spot. The mentality is to go into camp and fight for my spot and hopefully, I can play the full year there.”
The good news is, Bass has fully recovered from a shoulder injury suffered Dec. 28 in a fight with Eric Nystrom of the Calgary Flames. Season-ending surgery followed shortly after for Bass, who saw only 12 games of action with the big club after starting the year in the American Hockey League with the Binghamton Senators.
In 2007-08, he missed an extended period while dealing with a case of “skate bite,” caused by an improper tightening of the skate laces. But Bass isn’t letting himself think he might be cursed by injuries.
“The ankle thing the first year was a really weird,” he said. “Shoulder injuries like (mine) are part of the job. Guys get shoulder injuries all the time. All I can say is things like that happen.”
Bass acknowledged, though, that the injuries might be affecting his development.
“You’ve got to think it does a little bit but at the same time, I’m working hard,” he said. “I worked really hard when I wasn’t hurt and I can work even harder. I don’t like to think it does set me back at all but all I can really do is think about the future, go forward with it and do the things that I can do.”
Not being able to do anything to help a team that wound up missing the playoffs for the first time in 12 seasons? That was the toughest pill to swallow.
“What else can you say, really?” said Bass. “It’s tough sitting back and watching the team play hockey, knowing that your season is over and there’s nothing that you can do. Mentally, it’s draining and physically, it’s draining, but you’ve got to find a positive in that. If I didn’t find any positives, there’s something wrong.
“All I tried to do was heal as up as fast as I can and take care of my shoulder. Now I’m working really hard to get back into shape and get back into game shape.”
"You go into training camp and when you don't have a spot, you're fighting for a spot. The mentality is to go into camp and fight for my spot and hopefully, I can play the full year there." - Cody Bass
Given what he’s been through, this week’s development camp couldn’t be better timed for a guy who is aiming to be in top form for training camp in September.
“I like the development camp,” said Bass. “I think it’s a great idea to go up there for a week and get on the ice and be around the training staff and really push yourself for that week. For me right now, it’s going to help. I haven’t been on the ice a lot for the past few months and I like (having the chance) to come up there for a week and really push myself and show management that my shoulder is fine and that I’m ready to go.”
If Bass doesn’t earn a roster spot in September, it won’t be for lack of trying.
“As a player, you always try to work on your weaknesses and that’s what I’m trying to do right now,” he said. “I just have to go into camp and try to produce a little bit more and still play the way I’ve been playing and, hopefully, I’ll have no worries.”Northern exposure for Lehner
Senators goaltending prospect Robin Lehner
, a second-round choice (46th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, intends to play major junior hockey next season to get more acclimated to the North American style of play.
Lehner, who tended goal for the Frolunda juniors in Sweden last season, learned today where he'll make his new home. The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds made him the ninth overall pick in Canadian Hockey League's import draft. The 6-foot-3 Lehner was the top-rated European goaltender in NHL Central Scouting's final pre-draft rankings.