|Ottawa Senators defenceman Joe Corvo says his game has come full circle. Photo: T. Anderson/OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
With the playoffs just around the corner, Ottawa Senators defenceman Joe Corvo says his confidence level is the highest it has been all season.
"I think I've put together a good string of games here," the four-year NHL veteran says. "It's a good time of year to be gaining some confidence."
Corvo, who arrived in Ottawa last July as a free agent after starting his career with the Los Angeles Kings, admits he had a slow start with his new team but says he has re-gained the level of play that led to the Senators' interest in acquiring him last summer.
"I just kind of let it go," Corvo says of his frustration at the beginning of the year. "I figured â€˜hey, what's the worst thing that can happen.' I've seen how bad it can get and the sun still rose the next day. I'm just working as hard as I can and I've been confident with my game."
Senators head coach Bryan Murray says Corvo deserves praise for the way he has bounced back.
"I think he's responded real well. It's a credit to the player. As coaches we push them. We talk to them. We challenge them once in a while but it always comes back to the players responding and playing to an ability that they might have. Joe demanded too much of himself. It took a little while but I think he understands now that he has a role that is important to the team. When you figure out where you fit, I think you play accordingly."
While Corvo's renewed outlook has helped lead to success, so has his partnership with Tom Preissing on the blueline. After starting the season skating on the right side of the ice, Corvo now patrols the more familiar left side.
"I played on (the left) side of the ice in L.A.," Corvo says. "It just seems to be the right fit."
With his speed and booming slapshot, Corvo offers the Senators an offensive weapon from the blueline. Murray has utilized that ability by skating him on the top power-play unit lately.
Corvo has responded to the extra responsibility by scoring at least one point in five of the last seven games. He has also been a plus or even player in 26 of the last 35 games. With eight goals, 35 points and five games remaining in the regular season, he's just six points shy of his career high set last season in L.A.
Corvo's focus now is on the playoffs though.
"The team is going to need each player to do their best, so we can make a long run as a team. I'm excited," he says. "I had a long run in the playoffs with Chicago (the American Hockey League's Wolves in 2004-05) and it was fun. The weather was warm, and we kept rolling and rolling. It just kept getting more exciting. I want to relive that feeling."
Eaves doubtful vs. Montreal
Senators forward Patrick Eaves practised briefly with the team this morning. His availability for Friday night's game against Montreal is doubtful because of an injury to the groin area, but that determination will be a game time decision.