It's not hard to spot Curtis Lazar at practice these days. His bright magenta coloured jersey is a beacon that lets other players know to ease up and signals to the media that he is nearing a return to the line-up. Lazar could trade-in his vibrant colour as soon as Monday though as he looks to gain medical clearance to resume full contact and game action from the doctors after dealing with mononucleosis since late August.
Lazar met with the media during the team's off-ice workout on Saturday to give an update on his status along with the preparations he's been making in anticipation of rejoining the squad full-time...
On working with the doctors during training camp:
I usually check in once a week. I'm at the point now where if it were the playoffs or a little deeper in the season when the games were truly meaningful and they needed me...I'd be there 100%.
On getting back onto the ice in game situations:
I really just have to take it one day at a time. I feel great and as you guys have seen I've been doing the practices and the skate test just to gauge my conditioning. It's funny because I honestly feel fresh more than out of shape. I put up my best scores in the skate test. I know for myself, getting healthy is the first thing but after that I want to play and I want to play at this level. The coach talks about how it's tough to be thrown into a game but I have to play in a game somewhere. I trust my instincts, I trust my conditioning and I trust my hockey sense that I'll be able to survive. As you've seen, I've been in the stands watching practice and I'm familiar with the systems and all that. I'm anxious and ready to go.
On looking for an opportunity to show the coaches he can contribute:
I've been skating hard and I've been working out hard so the physical side is good. I'm up to par with everyone else. Again talking about the systems, seeing it is one thing but doing it is another. I think I have an advantage knowing that I've played systems that are similar before especially in junior. I have it all in my head and I want to at least get that opportunity to show the coaches. That's something that I've yet to have this year which is the opportunity to show my stuff in a game because I really worked on a few details and strengths in my game that I feel can bring me to the next level. I like what we have in place here and I want to show everyone that I can be an important part to the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club.
If he's frustrated seeing opportunities in camp and being unable to seize them:
Of course you want to be out there and prove to everyone that you can do that but in saying that I've had to be patient. I worked so hard this summer that I almost put myself in this predicament where I didn't get enough rest and the next thing you know: I'm sick. I put in the good work and honestly it's almost been a blessing in disguise being able to work with Shean Donovan for the past couple of weeks to work on individual skill stuff that I specifically need to work on. The same thing goes down to my gear too. I've lengthened my stick a little bit and I'm shooting the puck a lot better and that's one thing that I want to demonstrate in a game. I want that chance and I'm going to take it and run with it.
On the changes to his stick:
I've gained about an inch on it. It's incredible what it does for your shot. I want to show everyone in a game that give me the puck and watch it go in the net. There are the pros and cons with that but I'm actually still waiting on my sticks to come in. That's what these two weeks have been handy for, being able to adjust to that longer stick and talking things over with Alfie he likes the look of what he sees from me. I'm ready to go. If I had my way I'd have been playing for a couple weeks now but I know we don't have that luxury.
On his weight going into the season:
I'm playing about 5-7 pounds lighter than I was last year. I'm lighter than last year but I also gained about 5-7 pounds from the mono. It's right where I want to be. I'm in the best shape where my body fat has never been this low, I've never been at this playing weight before. I'm seeing the results in practice. I have been doing little contact drills here and there that I'm happy with how my body is reacting. The next step is really is to be tossed into a game.