Christoph Schubert knows exactly what it will take to regain a regular spot in the Ottawa Senators lineup.
And the 27-year-old native of Munich plans to carry the same attitude with him as he returns to the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League for the first time since the 2004-05 season. It's where he toiled for three seasons before earning his shot with the big club in Ottawa.
"I'm a little disappointed, but this is part of the game right now," Schubert said after he cleared National Hockey League waivers and was assigned by the Senators to Binghamton. "Obviously, money has something to do with it. I just talked to (Ottawa general manager) Bryan Murray and he said he wanted to give a couple of young guys a shot.
"I respect that and all I can do now is go down there and work hard so I can prove I belong in this league again."
Schubert had to fight for ice time during much of the 2008-09 season – his fourth in the NHL – when he saw a career-low 50 games of action. But he's facing a different kind of battle now, with the Senators deciding to make room for newcomers such as rookie centre Peter Regin
and defenceman Erik Karlsson
"I'm going to turn 28 pretty soon. I've got to act like a professional right now," Schubert said about his demotion. "I'm a professional and I want to take it as best as I can. As I've said before, you've got to put your heart into it. I've learned the last few years here in the NHL how to develop all this stuff and how you have to think about it.
"I’m going to go down with a good attitude and do the best that I can and when Bryan Murray gets a report (about me) from down there, I want him to see that I work hard and I’m going to be a good team player."
The Senators also assigned defenceman Brian Lee to Binghamton today, clearing the way for the 19-year-old Karlsson, their top pick (15th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, to start the season in Ottawa. That move reduces the blue-line contingent still here to seven, the number head coach Cory Clouston indicated earlier today that he wants to carry into the regular-season opener on Saturday against the Rangers in New York (7 p.m., CBC, Team 1200).
Winchester native Matt Carkner
, whose physical presence impressed Senators management throughout the pre-season, will also be among that group of defencemen.
With free-agent signee Alex Kovalev, along with Milan Michalek
and Jonathan Cheechoo (both obtained from the San Jose Sharks in the Dany Heatley deal), all now in the fold, Schubert became the victim of a numbers game at both positions. But he insisted today that he has no intention of asking the Senators for a trade.
"I've got to act like a professional right now. I'm a professional and I want to take it as best as I can. As I've said before, you've got to put your heart into it ... I’m going to go down with a good attitude and do the best that I can and when Bryan Murray gets a report (about me) from down there, I want him to see that I work hard and I’m going to be a good team player." - Christoph Schubert
"Ottawa drafted me and gave me a chance to play in this league," said Schubert, a fourth-round selection (127th overall) by the Senators in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. "It was hard sometimes with the (reduced) ice time but I was always proud to be in this league. It's the same thing right now.
"To ask them right now for a trade… I would be a quitter and I don’t want to be a quitter. I want to be a guy that works hard. It doesn’t matter if I have two minutes of ice time or 20 minutes, I always try my best and I think it’s the same thing right now going down to Binghamton. I’ll work hard and do my best down there so I can prove to everyone again that I belong in this league and make it back up here. It’s the only thing I can do right now."
Clouston echoed that sentiment, suggesting Schubert can only enhance his chances of returning to Ottawa by taking a "good attitude" to Binghamton.
"Things change so quickly, with injuries and with players playing well down there," he said. "So he's got to go down there with the right frame of mind and right attitude. Whether it's for us or whether it's for another club, the better he plays down there, the more options he gives himself."
Around the boards
Injured forward Jesse Winchester
(right knee) could return to practice in the next few days, although Clouston said the Long Sault native is "still probably two weeks away" from seeing game action again ... The Senators expect to name their second alternate captain as early as Wednesday, Clouston added. Veteran defenceman Chris Phillips
continues to wear an "A" alongside captain Daniel Alfredsson