|Senators defenceman Chris Campoli says he'll be in "competition mode" right from the first day of 2010-11 training camp, which opens Sept. 17 at Scotiabank Place (Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).
All across this fair land of ours, Canadians will soon lament the passing of another summer.
Which also means, soon enough, the return of ... well, you know. And along with it ... well, you know what.
But count Chris Campoli among those itching for that inevitable change of seasons.
"I'm just really anxious to get back to Ottawa and get on the ice with the guys," Campoli told the Team 1200 in a radio interview earlier today, with a clear eye toward the arrival of the 2010-11 season. "This is kind of an awkward time because you're ready to get back. The summer's been a long one.
"I haven't seen the guys all summer and guys will start getting back into town soon. So that's really it. You're getting yourself prepared now for the on-ice (work), the exhibition games and getting our season off to the right start."
Though he'll arrive at his second Senators training camp Sept. 17 as a veteran armed with a new one-year contract, Campoli plans to be "in competition mode" from Day 1. The free-agent signing of Sergei Gonchar
has made the Ottawa blue line one crowded place, with the battles for jobs and ice time figuring to be fierce.
"There’s a reason guys get to this level playing the game and a fine line separates them … (it's) the competitiveness of the game," said Campoli. "I’m excited about my opportunity and there are never any guarantees. I want to build on the way I finished last year. If I go out at the beginning of this year and play solid and help the team, I’m putting myself personally and the team in a better situation. That’s really what my focus is right now and I’m not taking anything for granted. I’m going to come in and work hard and earn everything I get."
While Gonchar's presence takes away one potentially available job — Anton Volchenkov was lost to the Senators in free agency — Campoli admits he's "really looking forward" to working alongside the smooth-skating Russian.
"I’m excited about my opportunity and there are never any guarantees. I want to build on the way I finished last year. If I go out at the beginning of this year and play solid and help the team, I’m putting myself personally and the team in a better situation. That’s really what my focus is right now and I’m not taking anything for granted." - Chris Campoli
"(Gonchar) is one of the best puck movers ever to play the game," Campoli told the Team. "He's been a 50-point guy every year. I can learn a lot from a guy like that at my age now and I'm really excited about it. And I'm happy I don't have to play against him.
"He brings so much to the table, he really does. He's going to help our team and that's what it's really about. If we're going to have a good year, bringing in a guy like that is going to be a part of it."
As to whether he might find himself partnered with Gonchar ... that's a decision Campoli says he'll leave up to head coach Cory Clouston.
"As a player, you've got to prepare yourself as a professional," he said. "No matter who you’re playing with, you just have to be ready to play. If Cory comes to me and says ‘what do you think?’ I’ll give him my opinion. Or if they say ‘you’re going to play with him,’ more often than not I’ll say okay. I’ll just go out and do it and do my best to make it a good situation.
"We’ve got a lot of good defencemen on our team and it wouldn’t surprise me if I’m with (any) three or four of them. It just depends on what direction he wants to go and I’m sure (Clouston) has got something that he’s thinking about. But I’ll play with anyone. I just want to play and help our team."