With a new contract in hand, Ottawa Senators forward Chris Tierney is itching to get going.
After avoiding arbitration and penning a two-year deal with Ottawa worth $7 million, the competitive juices are flowing.
"It's been a really long offseason," Tierney said. "It feels like I've been in the gym and skating forever now without playing a game so it's starting to get to the point where you're itching to get back on the ice and competing and playing real games.
"It's nice it's getting closer now and when they do set a date, it'll be nice to be able to make a plan for when to start ramping up slower and slower to when you hit your peak and you're in full stride for when camp starts."
To keep himself ready, Tierney spent another offseason under the tutelage of former NHLer Gary Roberts, training just north of Toronto in the Aurora area. The two have been working together since Tierney's OHL career started in London a decade ago.
"Every year I learn something different," Tierney said. "Being midway through my 20s it's about keeping and maintaining my strength and just trying to get your conditioning level up to the highest it can be for when you come back for the season.
"He's been great and he focuses a lot on nutrition, training, and taking care of your body."
Roberts' High Performance Training is well documented and includes many current NHLers. And for Tierney, who had 37 points in 71 games last season, he says that's only a positive as he not only gets to watch and learn from his peers but also work together so they're in optimal shape when training camp opens.
When Tierney gets back to Ottawa, he'll be surrounded by a number of new faces. A busy offseason has seen nearly a dozen new players added to the fold, including Austin Watson, a former teammate of Tierney's in London.
"He's an underrated player and Ottawa fans will be impressed by the details in his game," Tierney said of Watson. "He has more skill, more awareness and more hockey sense than people give him credit for."
As for the other additions?
"I think they went out and got a lot of key pieces that are going to make the team better," Tierney said. "Murray is a really good goalie in this league. He's won before, he knows what it takes to win a Stanley Cup. Dadonov is a great scorer. He's another weapon that we can add to our team. We've got a couple of other guys on the back who are big bodies, good leaders, so I'm really liking what we've added to the team."
And Tierney is really liking being back in Ottawa.
"I'm really happy to get it done. The fact that arbitration would have been a one-year deal, the fact we got two is great and I'm just really happy to be back in Ottawa."