|Senators forward Peter Regin is taking his competitive drive to Germany, where he'll wear Denmark's colours at the 2010 IIHF World Hockey Championship (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images).
Even 48 hours later, the sting of defeat still hadn't left his face.
"You're always disappointed when you lose," rookie centre Peter Regin
said a few weeks back in the wake of the Ottawa Senators' season-ending loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins. "That's the same feeling, even though I was happy with my game and the way I performed. You're always disappointed when you lose."
Regin, it might be suggested, took the early finish of his first National Hockey League playoff run harder than most in the Ottawa dressing room. But it was merely another sign of the fierce competitive drive that so impressed Senators brass in the years leading up to his breakthrough season with the team.
The 24-year-old native of Herning, Denmark, also impressed a lot of observers with his performance in the playoffs, when he was arguably the Senators' best player. While that might have seemed surprising to some, Ottawa team management knew otherwise.
"I've seen Peter Regin
for a number of years and I know his competitive spirit," said Randy Lee, the Senators' director of player development and hockey administration. "He can play good defensively, he can play good offensively, he's got a lot of skills and he's not afraid. And he'll compete. He proved that to me in development camp and he proved that to me in Binghamton (the Senators' American Hockey League affiliate).
"I wasn't surprised at all (with his performance). He made guys around him play well and he made them better. If you asked players who played with him, they (would say) they liked playing with him because he's in the right place at the right time. His effort is good, his skating is very good and his stick is incredible. And he's a very smart player. That makes the game so much easier, when you're thinking ahead and you're in the right place at the right time."
"What he did was earn the respect of his teammates. They knew he was a good kid and a good player. I don't think they realized he was this competitive and his game can really rise up. He was really effective in the playoffs and, in many games, I thought he was our top player." - Peter Regin
Regin was exactly that in training camp, a player who raised his game with a golden opportunity on the line. Quite simply, the Senators couldn't deny him a spot on their roster to start the season. Regin wouldn't let them.
"Nobody really expected me to make the team (this season) and I did," said Regin, who produced 13 goals and 16 assists during his rookie season, then added another three goals in the playoffs. "And it got better throughout the year. I wasn't a young star who came in and scored tons of goals right away, but I think I developed into a player who can play in the league."
Soon enough, Regin's teammates figured out he belonged. And they couldn't stop raving about him as his performance level continued to rise during the post-season.
"What he did was earn the respect of his teammates," said Lee. "They knew he was a good kid and a good player. I don't think they realized he was this competitive and his game can really rise up. He was really effective in the playoffs and, in many games, I thought he was our top player."
The best is likely yet to come for Regin, who will represent Denmark at the 2010 IIHF World Hockey Championship, which begins Friday in Germany.
"I think he'll get even better," said Lee. "He's got to get bigger and he's got to get stronger (to handle) the grinding and the down low play. He can do it with his skating, but he's got to get a bit more upper body strength. He knows this ... he's committed to working on that."