It has probably felt like an eternity for Cory Conacher
in preparation for his Sens debut, but the night has finally arrived as he'll suit up alongside Mika Zibanejad
and Jakob Silfverberg
in Buffalo tonight. The coincidence of playing that first game in a town he lived and played his college hockey in for four years has likely only heightened that anticipation.
The Canisius College grad was anticipating a return to his old stomping grounds in a week when the Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Sabres. With a sudden change in team, however, came a sudden change in plans. With the culmination of that change you have twice the excitement for a player looking to make an impression on his new team.
"It's very special. I'm going to have a lot of fans and family in the crowd. It's going to be a lot of fun for all of us. Hopefully we got off to a good start and give those fans and family a good show and get the win tonight."
Conacher should be heavily involved in the action tonight on the all-rookie line with Zibanejad and Silfverberg. All three players possess good skill and two-way ability and have established themselves as quality NHL hockey players in a very short period of time.
With Kyle Turris' line expected to draw the attention of Buffalo's most defensively capable players, there should be openings for the rookies to take advantage of their matchups with good speed and aggressive play.
"The guys that I'm playing with... they're fast, they take pucks to the net pretty quick so I've got to be ready for that," said Conacher. "It's going to be fun for us to play tonight and hopefully I get off to a good start."
Regardless of how tonight plays out it's clear that he will factor heavily in the Sens' plans going forward. After all, he has unintentionally assumed the mantle of team's leading scorer with 24 points this season.
With a bright future ahead of him and the chance to play with other talented youngsters on a playoff bound team, it's an exciting time to be Cory Conacher.
"Ottawa is a team on the rise, they've been finding ways to win with the injuries they've had this year. They have a lot of young guys and it's going to be a fun experience for me to play on a Canadian team and to be close to home is nice as well. Tonight's going to mean a lot to me and my family."
Even if it takes a little while for him to gel with his teammates on the ice, he has got his social media game nailed down and should fit in nicely with the group, as evidenced by his hashtag use.
We'll know for sure soon enough, but Conacher's pesky game should be right at home alongside these Pesky Sens.
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