Curtis Lazar will suit up in his third NHL pre-season game as a member of the Senators tonight after a solid showing in the club's rookie camp. Here's what he had to say about tonight's game...
On nerves despite it being his second camp:
Yeah, obviously there's going to be some nerves, it's the next step in the process and you're finally playing true NHL exhibition games. I do have a couple of games under my belt so I know what it's all about and it's just a matter of me getting comfortable as soon as possible out there and playing my game.
On if he feels he belongs with the big group:
Of course, I feel more comfortable each and every day. The scrimmage yesterday was a little sloppy but I feel good. I felt like I skated well and handled the puck pretty good, I'm just looking forward to being able to hit some other guys.
On playing true opposition:
The intensity level is going to rise a bit more. I know for myself, physicality is a big part of my game and you have to take it a bit easier on your own teammates because you don't want injuries to happen. We're facing off against the Islanders tonight and I'll be able to establish my forecheck, play a hard two-way game and hopefully put up a couple of points and get the team a win.
On his chemistry with Puempel:
Pumps is a great player, he can definitely put the puck in the net. Any time we can feed him the puck and get him as much room as possible he's going to capitalize on those chances. We have the time in London, we played together yesterday and we'll see what we can do tonight.
On the added weight helping him against pros in camp:
Last week was tough, being in London, playing the three in three and then having almost a whole week off to get ready for main camp. I feel in great shape now and especially the way I can fight off checks and use my somewhat bigger frame in a small 6-foot stature against bigger guys. I've been really happy with how I've been able to handle it with my conditioning and all that. Games are a different situation and tonight will be the first chance I get a true test of it.
On potentially taking shifts against John Tavares:
He was actually in the Barrie game last year so I didn't get to play against him last year. Looking at their lineup they have quite a few regulars in the lineup and that's always a thrill getting to match up against the best. That's a way to compare yourself and how you're doing. He's a pretty good hockey player, I must say. You just get out there and give him a run for his money, that's what it's going to be all about. I'm just going to enjoy it and have some fun as well.
On playing his game:
Especially in these things early in the season less is always more. You don't want to be that guy who panics with the puck all the time, you need to have the poise and the patience. It's the National Hockey League and everyone is in the right position which makes the game pretty easy and you don't want to overthink it. I know for myself I'm not the guy who's fancy with highlight reel goals and all that, it's a pretty straightforward north-south game and just trying to find my teammates and open up as much room for them as possible.
On relying on teammates for guidance:
All the guys here are great, from the young guys who are my age to the older guys, they've all helped me out along the way. We're all trying to fight for jobs but we all want the Ottawa Senators to succeed. Some guys aren't going to fit in that equation, that's just the way it is. Hockey is a business. They're great guys and I'm honoured to be here and suit up alongside them.
On playing centre vs. right wing:
I'm sort of waiting for that chance because all I've heard is I'm playing the wing and that hasn't been the case so far. Versatility is what I'm all about, up and down the line up, down the middle, around the wing, I'm going to be ready. I'm looking forward to showing what I can do.