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Senatorial signing

Ottawa signs veteran Juneau to provide offensive boost

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Posted: Monday October 25, 1999 09:19 PM

  The Senators expect Joe Juneau's speed and experience to have an immediate impact for the team. AP

KANATA, Ontario (AP) -- The Ottawa Senators are glad new forward Joe Juneau is a quick study.

They're counting on Juneau, who holds a degree in rocket science -- aeronautical engineering, to be precise -- to give the team an instant offensive boost, especially on the power play.

"We're adding a player who has gone to the Stanley Cup final the last two years," coach Jacques Martin said. "He definitely brings speed, quickness and experience. He has playmaking ability and a good shot. He's good with the puck and away from it.

"He played extremely well against us in the playoffs the last two years with Buffalo and Washington."

Juneau, 31, practiced with the Senators for the first time Monday, after coming to terms with the club as an unrestricted free agent Sunday. The deal reportedly will pay him $1.7 million this season. Incentives could boost the contract by another $550,000, while the team is believed to hold a $2.5 million option for next season.

Juneau has been training on his own and said if practices go well, he might play in Ottawa's next game at home against Calgary on Thursday. If not, he is aiming for the following game Saturday against Florida at the Corel Centre.

He was one of a handful of veteran unrestricted free agents who found themselves without a team as the season began.

"This has been one of the toughest times of my career," Juneau said. "It's the first time since I was four years old I wasn't playing. Some days, I was up at 5:30 a.m. to get ice.

"I'm glad it's over and it worked out with my number one choice."

Juneau's agent, Larry Kelly, also was talking with Washington and Buffalo. Juneau split last season between the Capitals and Sabres.

Reinforcements couldn't come at a better time for the Senators. Ottawa is down two top forwards with center Alexei Yashin holding out, and right wing Daniel Alfredsson expected to miss 8-10 weeks with ligament damage to his right knee.

Because of the missing players, the Eastern Conference-leading Senators' power play has plummeted from an NHL-leading 43.8 percent (7-for-16) to eighth at 20 percent (9-for-35). Ottawa is 0-for-19 with the man advantage over the past five games.

Juneau has scored 42 of his 114 NHL goals on the power play.

"One of his greatest assets is his vision," forward Rob Zamuner said. "On the power play, he can really thread passes."

The former Canadian Olympian was selected to the NHL's all-rookie team and was a finalist for rookie of the year with Boston in 1993, when he had a career-high 32 goals and 70 assists.

He had 15 goals and 28 assists in 72 games last season, and three goals and 11 assists in 20 playoff games with the Sabres.

Goaltender Ron Tugnutt was in Washington with Juneau briefly and said he is a big acquisition.

"He's been to the Cup the last two years and he says he plans on going again."

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