As one of the smallest forwards you’ll see on the ice, it’s hard to imagine Ottawa Senators winger Cory Conacher being a shutdown or two-way player. He seems aware that head coach Paul MacLean would prefer to see a more all-around game, however, as he told the Ottawa Citizen on Friday.
“I’m looking to be more reliable on the ice this year,” Conacher said. “Defence is a big part of this game. And it’s a big part of winning, as well. I’ve got to focus on that first. And if I am playing with Turris and MacArthur, or whoever it is, the offence will come as long as you play good defensively. It’s about being comfortable and well positioned in the defensive zone.”
The 23-year-old has enjoyed a successful preseason, and while he passes it off as receiving “some good bounces,” he also realizes that he needs to go above and beyond to overcome questions about his size (he’s listed at five-foot-eight, 179 lbs.).
” … As a small guy, definitely, you always need to have your head on a swivel and be the hardest-working guy on the ice,” Conacher said. “I’ve tried to do that my whole career. I’ve never been the best player on my team. I’ve just tried to work harder than the guy beside me.”
Ottawa likely hopes he can keep up that hard work – and impressive results – in the next season and beyond.