by Tim Morris
As the season approaches the halfway point, it’s easy to see that Ottawa Junior Senators center Lucas Staresinic is a more aggressive player with the puck on his stick in his second Junior A campaign.
A year ago, the versatile two-way forward almost always thought pass first—with putting the puck on goal a distant second. That has changed this season.
The 5-10, 170-pound Staresinic learned last year that despite being a fast, agile skater he needed to get stronger. So he hit the gym in the off-season.
“In the summer I put an emphasis on overall strength,” he noted.
Staresinic returned to Ottawa a bigger, stronger player better able to stand up to the physicality of a long season without losing his speed, his vision and anticipation on the ice or hockey IQ.
The increased strength did something else for the youngster, it made his shot quicker and, perhaps more important, more powerful.
“My shot has come a long ways,” he explained. “My technique is better and I’m getting more flex (on the stick) on my shot.”
As a result, while he is still a playmaker first as a center, the Waterdown, ON native has more confidence in his shot and will be looking to be more offensive-minded challenging goalies more often when he sees an opening.
But, making plays for his linemates is still his top priority and strength. Overall, Staresinic has posted three goals, including a pair of short-handers, to go with six assists.
As one of the veterans on the team that won the Bogart Cup last year, Staresinic knows what is expected of him and the returners: maintain the high standard that has been set by the organization.
“I have a much bigger role this year as a leader,” said Staresinic, who now wears an “A” on his jersey.
“There’s more responsibility in general and I have helped hold everyone accountable.”
Staresinic said he learned from last year’s captains about leadership and its responsibilities. Quiet by nature, he said he’s going to be “more vocal on the ice.”
He certainly leads off the ice with his work ethic.
What Staresinic learned about winning from last year is that it’s not a matter of talent as much as it is consistency, showing up every night with the same effort. And, the reward is special.
“There was nothing like it,” he said.
Like many of his teammates, Staresinic is balancing college classes with hockey. He’s studying kinesiology at the University of Ottawa and is more comfortable with the balancing act this year.
“It’s good to have balance, diversity,” he said. “I’m used to the routine and how to manage time.”