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Conacher on a top six spot, earning his time and more

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

There won't be any adjustment period needed for Cory Conacher in Ottawa this time around. After being acquired at the trade deadline this past April, Conacher has played through a handful of regular season and playoff games in a Sens jersey before attending the most recent Sens development camp.

As a guy who appears to be entrenched as one of the incumbents from last season, Conacher will have every opportunity to build upon a very encouraging rookie NHL season.

Conacher spoke today about his efforts to seal his place on the team's second line alongside Turris and MacArthur, as well as his approach to camp and this season as a whole.

Here's what he had to say...

On if he's excited to solidify a spot on the second line:

Oh, for sure. I'm coming into camp not expecting to be in that spot though, I need to earn it. I try and talk to guys like Turris and MacArthur as much as possible just to try and get that chemistry with them right off the bat. I'm just going to work hard and hopefully earn that spot.

On if he feels there is chemistry there:

Yeah for sure, a little bit. I've practiced with them all last week, we got here a little early and, you know, you can build it pretty quick, especially with guys like Turris and MacArthur because they're both very skilled guys and very good players. It's easy to play with those two guys. Hopefully we just build from that.

On if being scratched at times pushed him this year:

Yeah, for sure. I want to be reliable out there and I want to be consistent day in and day out and that's what I focused on this summer, see the areas I needed to improve. I worked defensively this summer and little regular skates and scrimmages and hopefully they can see that early on in the season and hopefully I can be good defensively and be reliable to be put out there in the last two minutes of the game.

On if he ever expected to play in Alfredsson's old spot:

No and I wish him the best. Obviously it's going to be hard to see him go, it's going to be a big spot to fill. He's a guy that's going to be greatly missed here in Ottawa. I think bringing in guys like Ryan and MacArthur and those guys is going to help this team. I don't see us any worse, I think we're going to be an exciting team to watch and, like I said, I wish him the best and hopefully down the road we can play him in the playoffs or near the end of the season and beat him. If for some reason we're not in the run at the end of the year then I hope for him the best.

On if it's a make-or-break year for him:

There's definitely some pressure on me to show this organization that I'm willing to earn my spot and work hard and be a consistent, in-the-lineup player and I'm going to do whatever I can to do that. Whether it's spend more time in the gym, spend more time after practices working on certain things, I'm going to be able to do that and show them that I'm ready to be that role player.

On if it's easy to play on his new line:

I'd say so, those are two guys who know where to be on the ice and they know how to make those amazing plays. I'm still trying to get comfortable with those guys because they're good players and they expect me to be at their level and I'm going to do whatever I can to be do that.

On what he focused on this summer:

I worked on just being consistently good this summer. Being the same during workouts and building on that, and when we do scrimmages — I do a lot of scrimmages during the summer — I try to be a two-way player and to help out in the D-zone and do the little things that'll keep me in the lineup and put me on the ice throughout the game, whether it's a close game or not, to be able to play in the last two minutes as well.

On if his camp approach has changed as a sophomore:

No I think every year I have to earn my spot. Obviously I lack in size and I have to show that and gain that back in heart and determination to be better. Nowadays if you're not improving year after year there's guys in the system that can take your spot. There's guys in Ottawa and Binghamton that can easily be in the spot that I'm in. if I do start in that top six role, there's guys like Prince and Stone and Hoffman — whoever it is — that can take my spot and I'd say we're all equal right now so it's a matter of who works harder this camp and hopefully I can show that I'm ready for that spot.

On how his size pushes him:

It weighs a lot on me. I want to, like I said, make that up with just driving hard to net and not being afraid of the Zdeno Charas of the league and to show that I'm willing to get beat up in front of the net and to win puck battles and be first on pucks. That's what I try and do and that's why I think I've made it this far is if I'm doing that. I've had a lot of help off the ice mentally to get my head in the right position and being that player who is not scared to go in front of the net and not scared to win those battles and go in the corners and fight those — well, I would probably never fight Zdeno Chara — not literally fight him but, you know, be around him and not be afraid to be hit by him.

On if that mentality impacts his high shooting percentage:

Maybe I guess, you could say that. I have to learn to shoot the puck more, I think. Near the end of the year I didn't shoot as much and I think that showed in my stats. Hopefully I can get off to a start by shooting the puck more and focusing on getting pucks to the net and limiting the turnovers around the net and around the blueline and go from there.

Here's Cory's full availability courtesy of Sens TV:

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