|Peter Regin, skating in front of Finland's Jarkko Ruutu, fulfilled an important off-season goal by helping Denmark avoid relegation at the 2009 IIHF World Hockey Championship in Switzerland
(Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)
enjoyed his first taste of hockey's biggest show.
Now the Ottawa Senators prospect is hungry for more as the 2009-10 season moves ever closer. The Danish centre spent most of his rookie professional hockey season in the American Hockey League with the Binghamton Senators, but was summoned to Ottawa twice and saw 11 games worth of action.
The highlight for Regin: scoring his first National Hockey League goal on Jan. 29, the game-winner in a 3-1 Senators victory over the Blues in St. Louis.
"That's what I'm hoping," the 23-year-old Regin said when asked about his chances to land a more permanent role with the Senators in the coming season. "There are a lot of good players in the organization and I know it's going to be tough to make the team, but that's my goal. I sniffed a little bit of the NHL last year and when you get that smell, you want to get more because it smells better than the (AHL), that's for sure."
The two stints he had with the Senators –
one before Christmas, then a second, lengthier one in January –
have Regin feeling much more confident about his game.
"I felt way better after Christmas than I did before," said the 6-1 centre, the Senators' third-round pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. "I got used to the game a little bit more. I got used to the speed –
you have to think quicker up here. Maybe it's not as skilled all the time, but it's a fast game and you have to be aware. You have to be aware every night."
Everything was new for Regin last fall when he arrived in North America after playing three seasons with Timra IK of the Swedish Elitserien. But the native of Herning, Denmark, feels much more comfortable now both inside and outside the rink.
"I'm more confident going into this season and this training camp," he said with an eye toward Senators camp in September. "Now I know what (an NHL) training camp is all about. I had never been through a training camp before. It's kind of a different style (in Sweden) and everything was new to me here. But I'm way more confident now and I've been through it all once, so I should feel better from day one."
Regin suited up for 56 games with the B-Sens last season, racking up 18 goals among his 47 points. Senators management was impressed with the way he quickly adapted to the North American style of hockey.
"There are a lot of good players in the the organization and I know it's going to be tough to make the team, but that's my goal. I sniffed a little bit of the NHL last year and when you get that smell, you want to get more because it smells better than the (AHL), that's for sure." - Peter Regin
"He had a tremendous season for a rookie. He just got better and better," said Senators assistant general manager Tim Murray. "He's a great skater, plays hard and has a good skill level. I think he can play the game as a checker, I think he can play the game as a skill guy. We'll have to see how he develops, but he's got the whole package for a young guy."
One of his biggest goals of the off-season was achieved in May, when Regin helped his homeland stay in the main group at the 2009 IIHF World Hockey Championship in Switzerland. After dropping its three preliminary-round games, Denmark fell into the relegation round. But the Danes reeled off wins over Germany, Hungary and Austria to assure themselves a spot in the 2010 world tournament.
"We had a good tournament as a country and as a team," said Regin, who scored the game-winner against Germany in his fifth world appearance. "We stayed in the A pool, which is the main goal when we go to the world championship. We're not going there to win or to beat Canada or Russia. We're going there to survive and we did that, so we accomplished our goal."
As one of the few players with NHL experience on the Danish roster, Regin said "I had a pretty big role on the team."
"The expectations were high for me when I went home, but I didn't try to do anything special," he said. "I played a solid two-way game, which is my best game."