OTTAWA – Bobby Ryan is hoping to benefit from familiar surroundings.
The Ottawa winger is searching for his first goal and can’t help but wonder if playing in some well-known rinks might work to his advantage. While two games is hardly enough time to evaluate his game, Ryan knows people won’t stop judging him until he finds the back of the net.
With the Senators heading out on a four-game, 10-day western road trip, Ryan will have the opportunity to play in a number of familiar rinks, most notably the Honda Centre where he spent parts of five seasons with the Anaheim Ducks.
“I’m comfortable in those buildings that we’re going to,” said Ryan. “I’ve played in that division for a long time so I like to think I have a leg up but who knows at the end of the day.”
Ryan, 26, admitted there have been some adjustments to playing in the Eastern Conference after spending the first six years of his career in the West.
“I don’t think I’ve seen that much transition in a long time,” said Ryan. “It’s much more of a dump-and-chase (style) in the west and I guess these guys will get a taste of that this week.”
Ryan scored his first NHL goal against the Los Angeles Kings. He’d love nothing more than to score his first goal as a Senator in the same building when the two teams play Wednesday.
Ryan traditionally has slow starts with October being his least productive month. He’s also adjusting to a new team and different linemates.
After two games, Ryan has one assist while linemates Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek have a goal and an assist apiece.
“It’s pretty hard to jump on a guy after two games on the road,” said Ryan. “We had chances, it wasn’t for the lack of effort or chances, but I think we gave up too many opportunities as a line…(there’s a) little bit of kinks to work out.
“I felt pretty good about it looking back at the videotape and stuff, but there’s definitely opportunities I’d like to have back.”
Senators head coach Paul MacLean has no complaints with Ryan’s debut and said his conditioning level is fine.
MacLean realizes that much of Ryan’s play will fall under scrutiny, whether fairly or not, due to the fact that he is often seen as a replacement for Daniel Alfredsson, who signed with the Detroit Red Wings.
“He’s probably got a bigger microscope on him because of that situation, but the expectations from us aren’t that he has to do much, we just want him to what he does,” said MacLean.
Throughout training camp Ryan admitted he knew what would be expected of him from both the team and the fans, which is why he sees no reason for concern just yet.
“Two games in I don’t understand why it’s such a panic button,” he said. “There’s plenty to work out and plenty to work on. Two games in there’s a long time left to play hockey and a lot of hockey left to play. We’ll get there, we’re figuring it out and we watched some tape together already.”
After grabbing three of a possible four points from the first two games on the road, the Senators are hopeful for similar results on the upcoming road trip.
“It’s going to be a tough test,” said forward Kyle Turris. “It’s going to be good. We’re going to be able to come together and spend a lot of time together as a team on the road, but it’s going to be a battle playing in the west in that division. We’re looking forward to it.”
Notes: Forward Jason Spezza was given a maintenance day as he continues to be hampered by a minor groin injury suffered in training camp. He is expected to be ready for Wednesday’s game against the Kings.