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Vermette given shot with Spezza and Heatley tonight

by Staff Writer / Ottawa Senators

Antoine Vermette skates in this morning's pre-game skate. Photo: T. Anderson/OSHC

by Todd Anderson

Tonight when the Senators host the Buffalo Sabres, centre Jason Spezza will have a new player on his left wing.

Coach Bryan Murray wants to give Antoine Vermette a shot with Spezza and Dany Heatley after Patrick Eaves gelled well with the pair during a 5-2 win on Tuesday in Halifax over the Pittsburgh Penguins to open the pre-season for Ottawa.

"(Vermette) wants a chance to play there and it's up to players like this, when they get an opportunity, to show they can play there at a high level and contribute," Murray says.

Spezza is excited about the prospect of what the line can do.

"(Vermette) has lots of speed and he put up some great numbers in junior. I'm looking forward to the opportunity."

Training camp roster notes

Ryan Vesce, Arttu Luttinen, Charlie Cook and Chanse Fitzpatrick will all be playing in their first pre-season games of 2006-07 tonight. Defenceman Jean-Claude Sawyer was sent back to his junior team, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, so he could play in the team's game tonight in Gatineau, Qué., against the Olympiques.

Recalling world junior championships

Spezza smiles when recalling his experiences during the 2000, 2001 and 2002 world junior championships where he won two bronze medals before claiming silver in 2002 for Team Canada.

"It was the first time I put on my country's colours," he says. "It was something I will never forget. The ones I played in were in Europe, but I received lots of e-mails from back home. You knew it was big to people here. There's going to be a pretty big crowd in Ottawa when they host it (in 2009). I'm glad Ottawa was chosen as hosts. They're going to do a great job."

Season-ticket holders of the Ottawa Senators and Ottawa 67s have until Oct. 1, 2006, to reserve their ticket packages for the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship. Click here for ticket prices and other information.

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