The star defenceman and Ottawa Senators first-rounder was acquired by contending Owen Sound in a four-player swap with the rebuilding Ottawa 67's on Jan. 7. That was one day after a resolution to the lockout. The net result for Ceci, as a junior that the Senators brought to training camp, is that Sunday was the first night his head hit the pillow at his new billet house in Owen Sound. All five of his games with the Attack have been on the road.
"I dropped by before practice one day, but we went to Erie right after and I went right to Sens camp after that and then joined our road trip [in Kingston on Friday]," Ceci related on Sunday, when he had an assist and was his usual quietly solid self defensively in Owen Sound's 3-2 win over his 67's acquaintances. The win gave Owen Sound a six-point sweep of its eastern swing, keeping them ahead of Guelph and Kitchener in the cutthroat Western Conference race.
"It doesn't take too long to get acquainted with this bunch of guys," added Ceci, who also scored the winning goal in Belleville on Saturday. "I'm having a lot of fun. Hopefully that keeps up and everyone stays together and we go far in the playoffs."
It certainly seems odd that Ceci, 19, would go almost two weeks before getting to play a home game for his new team. Vancouver Canucks training-camp invitee Frank Corrado was also moved at the OHL deadline from the Sudbury Wolves to the Kitchener Rangers, but has at least played one home game (along with, like Ceci, helping beat his old team).
Ceci established himself early in 2011-12 at a surefire NHL first-rounder, regularly clocking 30-minute-plus nights while helping the 67's reach their first conference final in seven seasons. The ebbing tide that lowers all boats that is Ottawa's rebuilding phase meant he might have been overextended while covering for relatively inexperienced teammates.
He was left off Hockey Canada's national junior team selection camp roster in December. However, Ceci is first in defenceman scoring (44 points) in the OHL. He also expects that spending time with the Senators will sharpen up his play behind his own his blueline, which could be good news for the Attack faithful.
"The [Senators' shortened training camp] was a great experience being able to skate with all those guys," Ceci added. "I was partnered with [veteran Chris] Phillips all week and he was a great mentor to me. That was a lot of fun. After that, I just tried to take the experience back with me to Owen Sound."
"Just D-zone," he added when asked about the major lessons from his first NHL camp. "Stuff away from the puck is what they want me to work on. Things such as my stick, keeping it on the ice and keeping it in [passing and shooting] lanes. Hopefully I can bring that up to a NHL level."
The lack of time to get settled into a new OHL port of call aside, it sounds like it hasn't been too stressful for the 19-year-old. Ceci, whose parents Karen and Parri live in Orléans, Ont., notes it's not like he was drafted by a NHL team in the U.S. sunbelt or on the West Coast and then had to rush back to play OHL games.
"Everything has worked out great, for camps and stuff," he said. "I get to be at home [with his family], which is a huge advantage for me. Along with that, there's getting to play at this rink [at Scotiabank Place for the 67's] before coming to camp. It's just nice to be at home."
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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