Bass angling for home in Ottawa
Hard-working centre wants to earn permanent spot in Senators lineup
Cody Bass still carries a sense of amazement about it all.
He figured Binghamton, N.Y., and the American Hockey League would be home for the majority of the 2007-08 season, with maybe a brief pit stop or two with the Ottawa Senators along the way. All of it just part of the development process on the way to full-time employment in the National Hockey League.
But here Bass found himself, right in the thick of the action during the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins, even scoring a big goal for the Senators in Game 2 of that series.
“Going into training camp last year, I did not know what to expect,” said Bass. “I knew I was going to be in Binghamton and the goal for me was to play one or two games (with the Senators) and make a name for myself and show them one day, I could play in the NHL.
“It turned out better than I expected. They gave me a good chance and, hopefully, I made a good name for myself and I can earn a (regular) spot this year in training camp.”
Oh, and that playoff goal?
“It felt phenomenal,” said Bass, a fourth-round pick (95th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. “I don’t think words can describe being able to score in the (Stanley Cup) playoffs and to be able to play in a playoff series. Growing up, you watch the NHL playoffs and you always want to win the Stanley Cup and so on. To actually be able to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs was amazing and the goal was a bonus.”
The whole experience – Bass saw 25 games worth of NHL action last season, including the playoffs – further emphasized the task that awaits him in trying to secure a regular spot in the Senators lineup.
“Every year, you kind of learn what it takes to be there,” he said. “People always say how hard it is to actually make the NHL and stuff like that. To actually go up there and play shows how hard it is and how hard on your body it is.
“For me, it was another eye-opener to show me how hard I have to work to be there and stay there.”
Bass has a pretty good idea of where he’ll fit into the Senators’ future plans.
“My role is a little different than someone like Nick Foligno,” he said. “Guys I look up to are guys like Mike Fisher and Chris Kelly and Chris Neil. That’s who I want to base my role on, being an energy-type player and strong defensively and contributing offensively when I get the chances.
“Just be that role player and be that hard-working player on the third or fourth line and, hopefully, if I play like that, it’ll get me a spot.”
He’s prepared to do what it takes to get there.
“What it really comes down to, as a young kid, is how bad you want it and I want it pretty bad,” said the 21-year-old Bass. “At the end-of-year meeting (with the Senators), all they said to me was just get stronger, get better all around and improve on your offence and improve every part of your game. As a young kid, I don’t think they really tell you to work on one thing. They just tell you to improve every part of your game and get a lot stronger and that’s what I’m trying to do over the course of the summer.
“That’s the goal for me.… (I want to) go into camp this year being prepared and make them make a decision on what to do with me. And, hopefully, it’s a good decision, and I can start off the year (in Ottawa) and finish there.”