Milan Michalek is a substantial X-Factor for the Sens heading into 2013-14. One season removed from a 36 goal campaign in 2011-12, Michalek had the vast majority of his 2013 ruined with a nagging knee injury which limited him to 23 regular season games — the brunt of which he played through the injury.
With a summer spent trying to get the knee back to full strength, Michalek could have a breakout season alongside Jason Spezza and newcomer Bobby Ryan.
Here's what he had to say on day one of camp...
On returning to Ottawa:
It's always fun to get here the first day, get it all over and done, get through the training camp and start the season. It's always nice.
On playing with Spezza and Ryan:
It's nice, I think it's nice we can get started right away playing together and we'll see how it goes. Hopefully we can develop some chemistry. They're both good players so hopefully it's going to be good.
On if they complement each other:
I think so. Like I said, these two are good players. Spezza's a good passer so me and Bobby should benefit from that so hopefully it's going to be good.
On his expectations:
When I look at our roster I think we have a really good roster this year and a lot of good players. You want to do better than last year so hopefully we can, first of all, make the playoffs and then do some damage in the playoffs.
On the team's leadership without Alfredsson:
There's many leaders in the locker room we have to step it up us younger guys, there's more guys, more than one. I don't think it'll be a problem.
On new approaches to his knee recovery:
I had lots of issues with my knee so I wanted to try these before I had to have any big surgery so, you know, it's holding up good right now and hopefully it stays like this.
On showing up to camp with no Alfie:
When I heard the news for the first time I was surprised like everybody was, but now we're here and we have to move on. I don't think anybody is thinking about it anymore, we have to move on, we have a new team here without Alfie and we have to go without him.
On the knee:
It feels good. I've been skating for a month pretty hard too and tested it, tested it good, and everything feels good now.
On staying injury free:
It would be great, it's my number one goal and hopefully I can stay healthy. It's going to be huge for me... I'm trying to not think about it, it feels good right now and hopefully it stays like this. I don't have to worry about it, I'm just going to worry about my game.
On playing with Ryan:
He's one of the best players in the league, he can put the puck in the net, he's got great hands and I'm sure it's going to be fun to play with him.
On a healthy Sens team this season:
It would be great. Hopefully we took it all last year and this year everyone's going to be healthy and everyone's going to be good. Like I said, we have a great team this year and I think we should be good.
On if his game will change with the knee:
I don't think I can change my game, I don't know how to play any way else. I'm just going to try and play my game and hopefully do good... I'm 100 per cent right now and it feels good. Hopefully I can do my best.
On if he'll be taking it easy in pre-season:
I will see how it goes in training camp, but right now it's 100 per cent so I'm going to go full throttle and hopefully it's going to be good.
See Milan's full availability on Sens TV here:
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