Brandon Bochenski was making the best with his second opportunity in the NHL, but an injury to the Senators rookie could now keep him out of the lineup for more than a month.
The right-winger is expected to miss four to six weeks with a separated shoulder suffered against the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night at the Corel Centre. Bochenski suffered the injury after crashing heavily into the boards on a routine play.
"The injury is disappointing because it came on a play where he was playing out a delayed icing," said coach Bryan Murray.
Despite the injury, Bochenski was still in relatively good humour on Monday. He was asked what he expects to do in the next month while nursing the injury.
"At least with Marty, there's someone to hang out with," he joked.
Martin Havlat separated the same (right) shoulder as Bochenski against the Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 29. He required surgery and is expected to miss most, if not all, of the remaining regular season. Bochenski was called up as his emergency replacement.
Now it's rookie winger Patrick Eaves who gets slotted into the spot.
"It's hard when a friend gets hurt but I will take this opportunity to play hard and well," Eaves told reporters on Monday. "It's an opportunity. The team wants to keep going in the right direction. I'm still learning here every day."
Wade Redden, who just returned from an ankle injury himself Saturday night, said it's never fun sitting around while your friends play games. He said Bochenski did a great job filling in for Havlat and, in general, the Senators' depth has been quite impressive so far.
"It's one thing after another right now. (Bochenski) was just getting his feet wet in the league. Guys are coming in to fills the slots."
Senators look forward to another exciting game against the Habs
The rivalry continues to mount between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators. The two teams will meet for the fourth time Tuesday night in Montreal with the Senators holding a 3-0-0-0 lead so far this season.
While Ray Emery started the first three games in goal, it will be Dominik Hasek in between the pipes this time.
"I knew I would play them sooner or later," said Hasek. "They have an improved team and their skaters are better than they used to be. When I watch the games, I watch to see what the best players like to do. I have paid attention to Koivu, Kovalev and Ryder, who is a good goal scorer, too."
The game against Montreal is the first of three for the Senators this week before the two-day break for Christmas. The Senators travel to Philadelphia on Thursday and New York (Islanders) on Friday. Murray feels it could be a benefit to the team to be on the road during the stretch.
"It will be good games against good teams. Everyone can concentrate on hockey and maybe getting their Christmas shopping done."
Ray Emery said the trip could provide another good chance for team bonding.
"It's alright to go on the road (during the week leading to Christmas). You get to hang out with the boys. I'm sure for the guys with families though, it's difficult to be away. At least we can get some shopping out of the way."
Speaking of Christmas, one of the Senators received an early present from the league.
Jason Spezza received news from the NHL that he will not have to sit out the Montreal game despite instigating a fight in the final five minutes against Carlo Colaiacovo and the Toronto Maple Leafs Saturday night.
"No one likes to miss games by being suspended," said Spezza. "(The fans) are going to be singing and dancing in the crowd in Montreal. We're going to face a good team hungry for a win."