|Senators forward Dany Heatley was one of 15 players named to the Eastern Conference squad for the NHL All-Star Game Jan. 25 at the Bell Centre in Montreal (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images).
Dany Heatley will get another chance to shine with the National Hockey League’s biggest stars.
The Ottawa Senators forward was one of 15 players named today to the Eastern Conference roster for the annual NHL All-Star Game, to be played Jan. 25 at the Bell Centre in Montreal. He’ll be the Senators’ lone representative in the game.
"It's always a fun weekend and it should be a good time in Montreal, with the 100th anniversary (season of the Canadiens)," said Heatley. "I'm looking forward to it."
Heatley, one of Ottawa’s assistant captains, shares the team scoring lead with captain Daniel Alfredsson
(36 points). He was named to the Eastern Conference squad for last year’s game but had to bow out when he suffered a shoulder injury two weeks before that contest in Atlanta.
"The NHL always does a great job (with the game)," said Heatley. "It's fun to meet other guys and play with other guys from around the league.
"I didn't get to go last year but I'm getting another chance this year."
Heatley’s biggest all-star moment came in 2003 in Sunrise, Fla., when he scored four goals for the East in a 6-5 loss to the West and was named the game’s most valuable player.
Meanwhile, the Senators finally hit the end of a gruelling eight-game stretch of road games tonight in Boston against the Bruins (7 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet, Team 1200). So far, they're 1-5-1 on a trip that has seen the gap between 12th-place Ottawa and the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference grow to 13 points.
Needless to say, a win tonight over the Bruins would be a welcome boost for the Senators in their bid to get back into the post-season chase. They're also catching Boston, the East's top team, in the midst of a two-game losing streak of its own.
"For us, it's about keeping it simple," centre Jason Spezza
said after the Senators' pre-game skate earlier today. "We've made some strides in our game in the last couple of weeks. We've just got to not have those letdowns where we get a couple (scored) on us and just try to play our game and dictate the pace of play.
"We know they've got three lines that can score and we've got to be good tonight."
"It's always a fun weekend and it should be a good time in Montreal. I'm looking forward to it. I didn't get to go last year but I'm getting another chance this year." - Dany Heatley
With suspended forward Jarkko Ruutu out for the next two games, the Senators will insert Binghamton callup Matt Carkner
onto the right side of their fourth line.
"He'll give us some size and toughness and we think that will help us here tonight," said Senators head coach Craig Hartsburg.
Carkner is enthused about making his Senators debut. So, too, is his father, Dennis, who has made the trip from nearby Winchester, Ont., for his son's second NHL game. Carkner's debut appearance was back on Feb. 6, 2006, for the San Jose Sharks.
"I'm not saying I'm a wily vet, now that it's my second (NHL) game," Carkner said with a chuckle. "I'm just going to go out there and try to get a few short, hard shifts in, bring some energy and hopefully get those nerves out.
"My dad booked a flight (from Syracuse to Boston) right away ... He's pretty excited for sure."
Around the boards
Defenceman Anton Volchenkov (upper body) didn't skate with the team today and remains out, along with fellow blueliner Filip Kuba
(groin) ... Martin Gerber (4-8-1) makes his 14th start of the season in goal. He's 6-7-0 in his career against the Bruins ... Fewer than 1,000 tickets remain for Saturday's game at Scotiabank Place against Wade Redden and the New York Rangers.