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Gryba: The call was "surreal"

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Senators are replacing an Erik with an Eric on their roster, but that won't be carrying over on to the ice.

Eric Gryba joined the Sens on Friday after being called up. While the prospect is having a great season in Binghamton with the Baby Sens, his style of game couldn't be much more different from that of Erik Karlsson.

"Karlsson's an irreplaceable player," Gryba said. "I'm not going to come in here and do anything other than what my strengths are: hard work, physical presence, keep it simple."

"You're not going to see too many toe drags from me out there but hopefully I keep the puck out of the net."

At 6-foot-4, 222 pounds — a frame reminiscent of players on NFL defences — it's fitting he'll sport the number 62 for the Sens. He goes about his business the way many football linemen do — a lot more physicality than flash.

With the chance of his first ever NHL action coming Saturday night in Toronto, Gryba has the opportunity to walk into one of the biggest stages the League has to offer: The Battle of Ontario on Hockey Night in Canada.

Needless to say, it doesn't get much more exciting than that for Gryba or his family and friends.

"I'm excited to get the chance to hopefully contribute to that," Gryba said. "Last night I called all my buddies who are Leafs fans to let them know and see if they wanted to come down to the game."

A mentor for Gryba this season has been his head coach in Binghamton, former Senators defenceman Luke Richardson. Gryba has flourished in The 'A' this season under Richardson, posting a plus-28 in 38 games despite only recording 11 of his own points.

Not only that, but there's a good chance he would still be standing in Binghamton had Richardson not been there to wake Gryba up when he got word.

"It was surreal," Gryba said. "I stood there and Luke kinda had to snap me out of it, I couldn't believe it."

Good coaching can go a long way. For Gryba, it took him over 400 kilometres.

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