|Rookie Andrej Meszaros has found a regular spot for himself among the Senators' six defencemen. |
MESZAROS WORKING HARD TO STAY WITH SENATORS
Andrej Meszaros knows he has to continue working hard to keep his spot with the Ottawa Senators. Still, the talented rookie defenceman, who just turned 20 on Oct. 13, has been a pleasant surprise early this season. His confidence keeps growing, too.
"Everything has been great so far," said the Slovakian.
"I'm trying to do my best every game and help the team. I have to show the coaches I want to stay here."
While most of his teammates left the building after a recent practice, Meszaros stayed behind and worked out in the gym with strength and conditioning coach Randy Lee. It's that type of work ethic that will benefit the young star. A participant in every Senators game so far (including rookie, pre-season and regular season), Meszaros said he has learned a lot from two key people -- defensive partner Wade Redden and countrymen Zdeno Chara.
"Things are easier for me because of them. Z is a huge help. He's a real leader on this team. Reds is a great defenceman, and I am learning a lot from him."
A graduate of the Western Hockey League's Vancouver Giants, Meszaros can't help but smile when talking about how things have developed.
"It's unbelievable. I'm glad the coaches have given me the opportunity to play. I've played in every game so far. I'm young, so I don't get too tired."
WINNING NOW IS KEY SAYS CAPTAIN ALFIE
Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson feels it's important for his team to keep winning early into the season. A good start is essential when looking forward to a busy couple of months ahead.
"We're going to face a lot of challenges down the road," Alfredsson said.
"Our schedule has been easy so far but December is going to be tough and there may be a lot of guys from this team who will be in the Olympics. We want to make the most of our schedule right now."
The 10-year veteran has learned a lot about what winning means to a player's attitude.
"As long as you're winning, life is a lot easier. As professionals, our job is to win games. If you do that, practice is a lot more fun. You have to work hard for it, though, and be prepared everyday. This team has had a great attitude since the first day of camp."
Changes in rules haven't hurt the Senators cause, either. With offensive numbers greatly increased, Alfredsson said a different mindset among players has evolved.
"Two years ago if you got four goals against in a game you would think you would have lost. Now you win by six. Now if you only get one or two points in a certain game, you wonder what went wrong. I think this year's leading scorer will have around 140 to 150 points. That's a big difference from a couple of years ago."