Sports

SENS OFFER SHANNON 'GREAT OPPORTUNITY' 0

ROB BRODIE

Ryan Shannon knows it might migh ht be his last stand. His final chance to secure permanent employment in the National Hockey League.

But after he recently rejoined rejoine ed the Ottawa Senators, Shannon Shannon sounded optimistic about the opportunity that is currently being b presented to him.

"Personally, it's a great opportunity because I haven't been able to stick in the NHL since my first opportunity with Anaheim (in 2006-07)," said the 25-year-old right-winger, a native of Darien, Conn. "I'm kind of getting fed up with going up and down (to the American Hockey League) and it's getting to the point where the window of opportunity is closing. "So I have to make the most of it. I have to approach every day as a chance to solidify my spot."

The Senators summoned Shannon from their AHL affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y., two weeks ago and it appears he's going to get a long look. Ottawa head coach Cory Clouston certainly knows what he's getting, having worked with Shannon as athe B-B Sens bench boss earlier this thi s season before being promoted to the big club himself on Feb. 2.

"I know he's not a big guy," Clouston said of the 5-9 rightwinger. "But he's very tenacious, he's a very good skater and he's got some experience. He's played parts of two seasons in the NHL, he's got a Stanley Cup ring (with Anaheim) and he's an extremely character guy.

"We felt that it's an opportunity for him and he can help out with offence as well. He's got go ot a good touch around the net." Shannon believes his style happens to mesh perfectly with the high-tempo system that Clouston favours and has started to implement in Ottawa.

"We spoke when we were down in Binghamton," said Shannon. "He let me know what type of role he wanted me to play. It's different down there (in the AHL) than here, but I feel comfortable playing under his system. He lets me play to my instincts while still being accaccountable.

"It's a good mix. I feel like I'm meeting my potential as a player under his system."

Shannon expected to start the season season in Vancouve 27 games for the Canucks contract over the summer - but was dealt to the Senators before training camp Nycholat.

He saw a chance for a new beginning in Ottawa. "I was a little disappointed being sent down camp, but that's behind me," said Shannon. "I wa myself back up and played well in Binghamton." Shannon thought his the Senators brought me against the New York Islanders. But his big debut at Scotiabank Place ended early, when a vicious elbow by Thomas Pock left him with a concussion.

"It was disappointing hance to play with the team," said with (Dany) Heatley and (Jason) opportunity I thought I played well but instead of getting a se second crack at it, I was out three weeks.

"I'm fully healed so in hindsight, it wasn't a big deal. But when you're going through hrough it, it's tough. You just hope for improvements every day."

Shannon got another one-game shot in a December game against the Atlanta Thrashers but he hopes his third callup is the charm. He knows know ws of them all.

"If you talk to a lot in Vancouver- he played Canucks last season and had signed a new in exchange for defencem defenceman Lawrence after training was s able to works chance arrived earlier this season, when ht him up for a Nov. 13 gam game ng because it was my first c chance d Shannon. "I was thrown in Spezza, so it was an awesomeopportunity.

Shannon said when asked if he's putting any pressure on himself to succeed. "I don't think I'm any different that way. I want to make it. it This is a good chance. But with that being said, you can't just go out there there and be nervous all the time.

"You've got go ot to relax and play your game. The more relaxed and composed I am, the better I'll play."

"It's very important that you balance that out. I do think I'm fair and the bottom line is, I do care about the players that I coach. First and foremost, you've got to see them as people and then as hockey players as well."

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