Mendes on Senators: Turris eyes Europe

Missing training camp has brought back a little déjà vu for Ottawa Senators forward Kyle Turris.

Last year, the centreman was embroiled in a contract dispute with the Phoenix Coyotes and he did not play an NHL game until December. This fall, he’s been locked out of training camp due to the ongoing labour dispute between the league and the NHLPA.

And since he knows first-hand the dangers of sitting out too long, Turris says he’s going to start looking for work overseas in the near future.

“You want to stay sharp and anytime you’re off the ice for an extended duration of time, when you come back you’re going to lose some of that timing and those things,” Turris told reporters on Thursday in Ottawa. “It’s definitely something I’ve thought about — going over to Europe. I’ve talked to my fiancée and it’s definitely a plan to possibly do it, but it’s just a matter of seeing when and where.”

Turris spent the majority of his summer in Ottawa, trying to get familiar with his new home. He recently signed a five-year, $17.5 million contract extension that will keep him in Ottawa through the 2017-18 season. But since starting the NHL season on time in Ottawa is looking less likely with each passing day, the 23-year-old said his agent is going to start working the phones to explore other possibilities.

“It’s something where you’ve got to look at somewhere to play,” he added. “Whether it’s now or if things carry on into October or November. You look at the options that are out there overseas and in different leagues and try and find the best fit for you if this does go longer.”

Turris joined the Senators on Dec. 17 last season and immediately filled the void as the club’s second-line centre for Daniel Alfredsson. He recorded 12 goals and 17 assists — both career-highs — in 49 games with the Senators.

But missing the first two months of the season and training camp was difficult for Turris last season and he admits it was a major adjustment. He would like to get playing soon so the rust doesn’t build up again.

“It was tough to do it. The skates that I was doing were pretty good. I think the toughest part was the timing of things,” Turris said. “I felt like I was in really good shape and I felt coming in that I could keep up with everybody, but it was getting your timing down and getting your chemistry with teammates – all the little things that people don’t necessarily think about. It takes two weeks to a month.”