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Homecoming dandy for Randy

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Randy Robitaille is happy to be home.

Now he’s just hoping it’ll indeed become an extended stay.

The Ottawa Senators announced Tuesday the signing of the 32-year-old centre to a one-year contract. But because he’s returning to the National Hockey League after being released by Yaroslavl Lokomotiv of the Russian Super League, Robitaille must clear NHL waivers by noon Wednesday before his stay in Ottawa becomes official.

Randy Robitaille is a veteran of eight previous stops in the National Hockey League (Phil Stobe/Getty Images).
“We’re hoping,” Senators general manager Bryan Murray said. “We want to give Randy a chance to come back to North America and play. If he gets through (waivers), he gets through but if he doesn’t, he has to go play wherever he has to play.

Robitaille, an Ottawa native whose resume includes previous NHL stops in Boston, Nashville, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Long Island, Minnesota, Atlanta and Philadelphia, made it clear he wants his hockey odyssey to finally end.

“Waivers have a lot to do with timing, and if other teams have injuries,” said Robitaille. “I’m not too sure what other teams might need now. We’ll cross our fingers and hopefully by tomorrow, it’ll be good news.”

The Senators were one of the teams Robitaille had near the top of his list of potential destinations once he decided to leave Lokomotiv. He and his wife, Joanne, are expecting their third child in January.

“I signed over in Russia before the season started and before I found out my wife was pregnant,” he said. “Once we knew that, we decided to come home. I had my agent poke around a little bit here. Ottawa’s one of the teams (of interest to him), and being from here and being able to have the support from my wife, this is one of the clubs I’d like to be with.”

Robitaille is hopeful he can just fit in as a depth player.

“Obviously, they’re a great team and they’ve been a great team for a while now with a lot of core guys,” he said. “I’m just looking to try to chip in any way I can, whether it’s offensively or just adding some depth or adding some energy.”

That’s about the same way head coach John Paddock looks at the possibilities for Robitaille if he stays around.

“He’s an NHL player,” said Paddock of Robitaille, who’s collected 74 goals among 227 points in 463 career games. “I think he’s got good speed and he’s put up some numbers offensively in certain situations. He provides some depth for us.”

The arrival of Robitaille wouldn’t necessarily mean a demotion for rookie winger Nick Foligno, who earned the last open spot on the roster in training camp but has yet to record a point. Both Murray and Paddock made it clear they’re happy with Foligno’s play so far.

“I think Nick’s been fine,” said Paddock. “A little bit of inexperience has showed at times … He just needs to react and finish quicker. The best way to do that is play at this level and practise with these guys.

“It isn’t just about (scoring numbers) with him. He’s been getting 10-12 minutes of ice time a game and that’s good. We’ve got a lot of forwards who fall into that category.”

Foligno, though, has taken note of the potential new arrival in the dressing room.

“You know what, it’s kind of a motivation (for me),” said Foligno, 19. “You’re trying to stick on the team, and he’s a great player and it’s going to be a challenge. But I just have to go out there and do the things (the coaches) ask. Hopefully, that’s what it’s going it take, and maybe a little extra whenever I can. Just do whatever it takes to try to be an impact player on the ice.”

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