A pleasant surprise for the Sens and their fans amidst 2013's cavalcade of injuries was the growth of Kyle Turris into bonafide top-six centreman in the absence of Jason Spezza. While Turris entered the season as the team's number two down the middle, he was thrown into the spotlight once Spezza went down and had a quality season, developing into a consistent offensive threat while improving his defensive game.
That year in the limelight appears to have given the Sens serious strength down the middle as Turris will now slide back down into the two slot where he will no longer face the NHL's top shutdown lines and pairings on a revamped second line with newcomer Clarke MacArthur.
Turris spoke yesterday about his early chemistry with MacArthur, his development as a player and his personal expectations for the season ahead yesterday.
Here's what he had to say...
On playing with MacArthur:
He's a phenomenal player I'm excited to start playing with and building some chemistry. He moves the puck really well, he made some great passes today, he sees the ice really well, he's got a good shot. It's going to be lots of fun.
On MacArthur as a difference from Alfredsson:
It's a different player and a new opportunity. That's something we're going to work on here in camp and we'll be ready to go come October 4.
On who can complete that line:
Whatever works, the chemistry is a big thing. It was fun playing with Cons (Cory Conacher) today. He adds that speed element, he's so quick, he's got a good shot and he sees the ice well as well. He's fun to play with. That's for Mac and the coaching staff to decide upon what they think is going to work best there and we're just going to run with it.
On finally playing a full season in Ottawa:
Just building on what we've done the past couple of years and we've got a really good group here. It's going to be fun, we're going to have a really good year and personally I'm just looking to improve as well. It was a big learning year for me last year, I took a lot out of it and I'm going to apply a lot of that this year.
On his statistical expectations:
I think it (his last two seasons in Ottawa pro-rated) would have been around a 50 point type of thing and it would be nice to actually hit it. Whether it's 50 points or 30 points or 70 points, as long as the team is winning and I'm doing everything I can to help contribute as a part of that, that's the main goal in the end is to win that Cup so whatever it takes to get there.
On using last year's first line experience:
I'm going to treat every shift like I did last year, like it's the number one centre spot, and hopefully that helps me and our team have more success on the second line because we'll be playing against second lines and second D pairings. If we go into it with a first line mentality maybe it'll help us out a bit. I learned a lot and took a lot out of it, I'm going to apply that this year and I think I'll be more ready and more mature for anything thrown at me.
On his defensive growth:
It's just the team philosophy here, it's been awesome. We try to spend as little time in our own zone as possible to play more offence. It just means we're not spending time in our zone and creating more scoring opportunities so yeah, it's just making sure we have control of the puck in our zone and it's safe to take off. When we do get the puck we're jumping, we're ready to go and we're trying to get going quick. It's fun, it's a really fun way to play and I think it's entertaining for everyone else as well.
On getting Wiercioch on Twitter:
I was bugging him in the summer about it but I was actually surprised. He sent me a text last night saying 'I finally caved' and I thought it was for a different reason, but he said he was getting Twitter so it's good for him.
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