Sens’ Conacher hopes to improve defensive game


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.

Update: Wisniewski tore ACL 47 seconds into ‘Canes debut

James Wisniewski, John-Michael Liles, Elias Lindholm
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Last night, we passed along news that veteran d-man James Wisniewski — acquired from Carolina at the draft — suffered what looked to be a serious injury just 47 seconds into his ‘Canes debut, and was ruled out for the remainder of the night.

Now, he’s been ruled out for a lot longer than that.

From the club:

Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that defenseman James Wisniewski will undergo surgery on his left knee after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during Thursday night’s game in Nashville.

Recovery time for the injury is estimated at six months.

This is, obviously, a tough development for both player and club. The ‘Canes were counting on Wisniewski to be a regular contributor on defense this year, and help improve last year’s middle-of-the-pack power play.

Wisniewski, meanwhile, was looking to bounce back from a disappointing ’14-15 campaign. He was shipped out of Columbus at the deadline to Anaheim but never made an impact for the Ducks, failing to see any playoff action as Anaheim made it all the way to the Western Conference final.

Jordan Weal to make NHL debut for Kings

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Two days after an uninspiring performance versus San Jose, the Los Angeles Kings will be getting an injection of youthful enthusiasm tonight versus Arizona.

Coach Darryl Sutter confirmed today that Jordan Weal will make his NHL debut at Staples Center.

A 23-year-old center, Weal is expected to replace Andy Andreoff and skate between Kyle Clifford and Jordan Nolan on the fourth line.

“It’s really exciting,” Weal told LA Kings Insider. “A lot of work has gone into getting to this part of my career, and the hard work’s just going to continue. It’s going to keep going, and I’m trying to do as much as I can in this game and keep improving from this game moving forward in trying to solidify a solid spot in the lineup.”

The 70th overall pick in 2010, Weal had 69 points in 73 games last season for AHL Manchester.

Related: Jordan Weal is looking to make the leap