|Peter Regin skated alongside Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin when he made his NHL debut. He'll suit up for his 10th game with the Ottawa Senators tonight when they face the Tampa
Bay Lightning (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).
The question was posed to Peter Regin
the week before his hockey life was about to change in the biggest of ways.
“When do you think you’ll be up there?” Randy Lee, the Ottawa Senators’ director of player development, asked the Danish rookie forward as they pondered the timing for his leap to the biggest of hockey stages.
Regin wasn’t sure yet when the call would come, summoning him from the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Senators to the parent club. But he was anxious for even a single opportunity to live his biggest hockey dream.
“I said (to Lee) ‘I don’t know but, hopefully, I will get one game this year,” said Regin, 22, a third-round pick by the Senators in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.
That moment finally came on Jan. 20 against the Washington Capitals at Scotiabank Place. Two games later, Regin notched his first National Hockey League goal, the winner for the Senators in a 3-1 triumph over the Blues in St. Louis.
Regin’s NHL game count will reach 10 tonight, when the Senators face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m., TSN, Team 1200). He hopes to stretch it a lot further before this season is done.
“Now I’ll do my best to stay as long as I can and, hopefully, stay for the rest of the year,” said Regin. “The only thing I can do is work hard every day to show I deserve to be here.”
His second tour of NHL duty began last week against the Edmonton Oilers. With an earlier six-game stint already under his belt, Regin doesn’t feel like a such a shy newcomer anymore.
“I feel way more comfortable,” he said. “I was nervous the first couple of games. I’m still a little nervous before the games, but now I’m more excited to go out and play and show what I can do. It’s a lot of fun. I think it was fun the last time, too, but I’m enjoying it a lot more now.”
Senators head coach Cory Clouston, who started the season in Binghamton with Regin, believes the 6-1 centre has an opportunity to enjoy a lot more games in Ottawa in the future.
"(Regin) has come up and he's played well," said Clouston. "There are areas of his game he needs to improve on, the physical area. He's just got to get bigger and stronger but he's poised, he's skilled and he's got a great attitude.
"He's a guy who's going to be a big part of this team not only down the road – he’s helping us out now – but definitely, for the future."
Regin is quickly learning what it 'll take to stay in Ottawa.
"I just have to play my game and do the best I can," he said. "I'm an offensive player, too, but I have to play solid defence here and don't make any mistakes. That's my priority, then hopefully I can help the team by scoring goals and making some points in the future."
"I feel way more comfortable. I was nervous the first couple of games. I'm still a little nervous before the games, but now I'm more excited to go out and play and show what I can do. It's a lot of fun. I think it was fun the last time, too, but I'm enjoying it a lot more now." - Peter Regin
What Regin is also especially anxious for is to give his parents, Regin Jensen and Lene, a chance to watch him play in the NHL for the first time. They travelled from Herning, Denmark, many times to watch their son's games in the Swedish Elite League the past three seasons.
"They were going to come to watch my first (NHL) game," said Regin. "That was the deal before the year. If I got called up, they would come over and watch the first game. But I got called up so (suddenly) before my first game that they didn't have a chance to come over. And the last time I got called up, we were on the road all the time.
"So we decided to wait a while longer and then I got sent back down (to Binghamton)."
While Lene has seen her son play once in Binghamton, Regin knows it will be a special night when his parents see him play in Senators colours in Ottawa for the first time.
"That will be a lot of fun," he said. "I'm sure they will be proud to watch me live in the NHL. That would mean a lot to me and I would be happy to have them here."