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Zack Smith on getting back to games, facing an old friend

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

Senators forward Zack Smith returns to the lineup for the team's final pre-season game against the Canadiens tonight. Here's what he had to say about his pre-season and getting back at it against a Sens rival...

On watching last night's game:

You can see some of the rivalry last night, it got a little chippy but it was nice to see a game with some excitement around it. It's always fun when Montreal comes to town because they have a good fanbase and our fans get a little louder too. You definitely get the itch last night to get back at it.

On potentially playing on the wing:

I'm a natural centre, I've played it for the majority of my career so far but I have some experience on the wing. I think of all the centres that we have I think Mika and I are the two that have spent some time on the wing so the two of us are comfortable. It's always nice if you're playing the wing with another centreman, you have a couple of options to take the draw and puck possession has become a big part of the game so that's another advantage. It's a good challenge and a different mindset when you go back to the wing. You restrain yourself from skating all over the place, when you're a centre you have free range. When you go back the wing you remind yourself to stay along the wall and it's more of a north-south game.

On playing with more offensively inclined players in the pre-season:

It's an opportunity I was looking forward to. Most of my game since I've been up here has been based around playing a shutdown role and a checking role so it's nice to get an opportunity to play some offensive minutes.

On having longtime friend Dale Weise playing for a division rival:

It's strange, we came into junior at the same time, played for the same team and were good friends. Then we moved to pro and both played in the AHL for the same amount of time but he played in Hartford and I played in Binghamton so we didn't see each other a lot. Then he was in New York for a bit and then Vancouver so we didn't play him a lot. It wasn't too bad, once or twice a year I'd play against him. Now he's playing for Montreal, a team we've always had a good rivalry with. It'll be different, especially this year since it's his first full year in Montreal. We'll be seeing a lot of each other. It's fun, we're very similar players and we've come up the same way.

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