Lehner, Bishop arrive in Ottawa for goalie showdown

For many years, Ottawa Senators goaltender Robin Lehner talked a big game. Now, it would seem, he’s ready to let his game do the talking.

Lehner, Bishop arrive in Ottawa for goalie showdown
Robin Lehner (m) of the Ottawa Senators follows the play as Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks skates by during second period NHL action at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, March 02, 2012. Photo Jean Levac, Ottawa Citizen)

For many years, Ottawa Senators goaltender Robin Lehner talked a big game. Now, it would seem, he’s ready to let his game do the talking.

It was an atypically diplomatic Lehner who faced the media at Scotiabank Place Saturday morning, a player who insisted he was happy to play wherever the team saw fit. Last season, Lehner declared himself NHL-ready.

On Saturday, he declined to use the term.

“I haven’te proven anything in this league yet,” he said. “Every day I try to work my best to prove I can play at this level.

“I’m just trying to come here for myself and for the team and try to show that I’ve been working hard and I’ve been trying to get better,” he said.

He has done that so far this season in Binghamton, what with the 14-5 record and .945 save percentage. Lehner chalks his improved performance up to pre-season preparation and sustained effort — something that was lacking in the past.

“I worked very hard this summer to try to get ready and I’ve been really working hard this year in practices and working with coaches and working with myself to try to be better at certain parts of my game.”

Lehner is at an automatic disadvantage due to his contract situation. Unlike starter Craig Anderson and the presumptive backup, Ben Bishop, he’s still on a two-way contract that makes it easy for the team to ship him to AHL Binghamton. It’s likely only an injury or struggling starters at the NHL level could serve as a foot in the door.

Still, he said he wasn’t sweating the situation.

“Fortunately, it’s not my job to look at numbers and contracts and stuff,” Lehner said. “There’s other people that are paid for that.

“Wherever I am, I really like this organization,” Lehner, 21, continued. “They’ve been treating me well. I came here as a pretty young boy and they’ve been helping me mature and they’ve been a little bit like family and they’ve helped me get into the man I am now. Wherever I am, you get paid to do your job, and I love to do it.”

For his part, Bishop was pleased to finally be back in Ottawa too.

“It’s been a long wait, so it’s nice to be here and get things going,” he said, adding he was up for a good competition in the crease. “It’s the same every year. Last year I was fighting for a job and the year before that. You’re always fighting for jobs. That’s what the game is about, so it’s no different from any other year.

Bishop is 8-3-2 with a .928 save percentage in Binghamton this season.

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