by Todd Anderson
Ottawa Senators forward Dean McAmmond says his approach to how he can help his team hasn't changed since the day he signed with the club last summer.
"I think I know who the big scorers are on this team, and they're doing a good job of it. I came here with the thought of helping out in other areas. (Scoring) is not my role on this team. I think my role is to do what I have been doing. To play well at both ends of the ice every night and chip in wherever I can."
This season McAmmond has been placed on the right wing with top-scoring forwards Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza for the third period on several occasions to ensure a top defensive player joins the young stars to close out games. McAmmond has relished the opportunity given to him by head coach Bryan Murray.
"My ability to skate has pushed me to opportunities to be up with top lines," McAmmond says. "I started my career on the fourth line in Edmonton and I've had enough experience along the way playing centre, left wing or right wing. Any time you play with good players like that, it's a bonus to get a few goals."
Last night against Toronto, while playing with Spezza and Heatley in the third period, McAmmond scored a highlight-reel goal. Grabbing a rebound off his own shot, McAmmond dragged the puck from his forehand to his backhand and directed the puck in the top corner past Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Andrew Raycroft for his second goal of the game and sixth of the season.
"Sometimes when I've had chances I've been shooting a little quick," McAmmond said. "The puck was bouncing a little bit (last night), so I wanted to make sure it was flat."
Murray had McAmmond back centring the fourth line at practice today, but he knows he can rely on the speedy veteran whenever he's needed on other lines.
"I said to Dean before practice that I know where he can fit and I know he can play (on the top line) but I need him at centre to make up another line," Murray said. "It is really nice to have a guy like him that we can flip up on the wing. He's very responsible, a good skater, and when he kicks in goals like he did last night, it's obviously a bonus."