The Sens were back on the ice today at Canadian Tire Centre for Day #3 of training camp but with an extra bit of buzz in the building as fans were given access to watch the on-ice activities as well as some opportunities to interact with the players as part of Fan Fest.
For Sens forward Anthony Duclair, who joined the team following the NHL's Trade Dealine last year before re-signing in Ottawa this past summer, it was a great chance to reconnect with Sens fans after a long off-season.
"We do a couple events with the fans like this during the year but it's been a long time this summer without them getting to see us," he said after today's skate. "There are a lot of guys here so it's a nice opportunity to showcase your talent."
Fan Fest was highlighted by an intra-squad game between two of the three groups at camp and the crowd helped to add a bit of lighter atmosphere to the scrimmage. For his part, Duclair lit the lamp for Team Red who downed Team White by a 4-1 final.
"Training camp is always tough on the players so it makes it that much more fun to get the fans involved," said Duclair. "Seeing them come out and support us definitely gives us a boost out there."
Like the fans in attendance, Sens head coach D.J. Smith also came away impressed today with Duclair's play and praised the young winger's speed and offensive abilities following his impressive on-ice showing during today's skates.
"I thought he might have been our best player today overall," Smith said about Duclair. "He worked in practice, he had the most chances in the scrimmage and I don't think you realize how quick and dangerous he really is."
Smith has Duclair skating on a line with Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Drake Batherson to start training camp and the trio has already shown some noticeable chemistry through the first few on-ice sessions. With the pre-season set to start on Tuesday in St. John's, Nfld. against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Duclair hopes his line will have an opportunity to shine during a real-game setting next week.
"I played a little bit with Pageau last year and he's a good, hard working, two-way centreman," Duclair said of his linemates. "It's my first time actually skating with Drake and he's really impressed me to be honest. He can skate, he can move the puck and he's a big body that isn't scared to get to the front of the net."
"I really enjoy playing with those two guys and hopefully we get to stick together during the pre-season."