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Enthused Turris 'can't wait to get started' with Sens

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Kyle Turris smiles during a break in the action at the Bell Sensplex as he takes part in his first practice with the Ottawa Senators since being obtained from the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday (Ottawa Senators Hockey Club).
Kyle Turris barely needed to say a word.

The 100-watt smile which seemed ever present — and lit up the Ottawa Senators dressing room — gave ample evidence of the renewed spirit bursting inside of the 22-year-old centre as he embarks on a new chapter in his still very young hockey life.

"I'm real excited," Turris told a horde of media earlier today after his first practice session with the Senators, who obtained him from the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday in exchange for defenceman David Rundblad and a 2012 second-round draft pick. "I couldn't wait to get started today and meet all the guys and get going."

For Turris, a restricted free agent who endured a six-week holdout before finally inking a two-year contract with the Coyotes in Nov. 23, the "fresh start" in Ottawa also offers up a feeling of major relief. While he played six games in Phoenix before Saturday's deal, Turris knew he wasn't long for the desert. The scrutiny in Ottawa figures to be much more fierce — "I don't think I've been this many cameras for a number of years now," he told the assembled media — but he's ready to embrace it all.

"It's a lot different (type of) pressure, but I'm ready for it and I'm excited to get started," Turris said with an eye toward Tuesday night, when he'll make his Senators debut against the Buffalo Sabres at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m., TSN, Team 1200). "I'll have lots of adrenalin and (feel) lots of excitement. I'm going to have lots of energy, that's for sure.

"I'm very happy to be back in Canada and excited and really looking forward to playing back on Canadian soil."

While Turris has yet to fulfill the potential that made him the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Senators head coach Paul MacLean has no doubt the addition of th 6-1, 195-pound centre "makes us a better team."

"(The trade) solidified the second-line centre position that we've been searching to fill — not only for this season, but for seasons to come," he said. "I think he's a piece that makes us better today and for down the road as well. With the opportunity that we're prepared to give him, we feel he's going to demonstrate that he's a quality, quality player."

Ottawa centre Jason Spezza, who roomed with Turris during Team Canada tryouts for the 2008 IIHF World Hockey Championship, believes the Senators are getting a player who'll mesh will with the rest of the team.

"He was a young kid then and he was excited to be around," said Spezza. "You could tell that he likes the game of hockey and he's passionate about it. I remember him having a real good wrist shot and a good release. He skates pretty well and he looks like he's gotten a little bigger and stronger (since then). He could be a guy who really helps us out.

"(Turris) is a good kid and he's easy to get along with ... he's going to fit fine in our room."

Though he's barely had a chance to get his feet wet here, Turris already senses the same thing. The native of New Westminster, B.C., feels the Senators' mix of old and young is exactly what he needs at this point in his still-young career.

"It's a real fun atmosphere," said Turris, who'll likely start Tuesday night centring a line with Nick Foligno and Erik Condra. "They've got a good mix of older guys, like Spezza and (captain Daniel) Alfredsson, and at the same time, they've got a real young group. It was a fun practice this morning, with guys joking around and a whole lot of energy. I'm looking forward to jumping in.

"It's nice to have a fresh start. Talking with Spez and skating around with the guys and joking ... I'm having fun out there. It was a great start today and I'm really looking forward to tomorrow night."

Around the boards

Veteran blueliners Filip Kuba (shoulder) and Sergei Gonchar (upper body) took part in today's practice at the Bell Sensplex and MacLean expects both to be in the lineup against the Sabres on Tuesday. "It's hard on a team to lose veteran defencemen," MacLean said of the impact of the absence of Kuba and Gonchar. "It's a big reason teams have success ... it's the way they play and get out of their own end. When you have guys of Filip and Sergei's stature and (experience) in the league, it makes it hard. So I think we've missed them a lot" ... Craig Anderson has been tabbed to make the goaltender start against Buffalo ... The injury-ravaged Sabres have called up forward Marcus Foligno from the Rochester Americans (AHL) for Tuesday's game. It'll mark the NHL debut for the younger brother of Senators forward Nick Foligno ... The Senators close out a four-game homestand Thursday against the Florida Panthers (7:30 p.m., Sportsnet Sens, Team 1200).

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