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Lindsay Kramer | correspondent
Jan 1, 2007, 12:00 PM EST

Binghamton rookie center Andrew Ebbett redefined the concept of poise under pressure last week.
It came in the face of the oppressive surroundings found only in your basic Department of Motor Vehicles office. Ebbett went there for what he thought would be the simple process of switching his Michigan license plates to New York.

Except that there was a little problem with his paperwork. Then another. And then some more. His parents, who had just flown in from his hometown of Vernon, B.C., for a visit, got to spend some extended quality time with their son while waiting. Four hours after Ebbett walked into the place, he left with his mission accomplished and his smile wilted only a bit.

"There was four (clerks) working there, and three of them were helping me to get me out of there,'' he said. "(One of them) told me she admired me for being a hockey player and keeping my cool. I was pretty calm. It takes a lot to get me fired up.''

Actually, the trip to the DMV in a sense represented a rare failure for Ebbett. In hockey circles, he's earned the reputation as a player who first and foremost makes things run smoothly and efficiently.

That's how it was during his four playmaking seasons at Michigan, where he was the team captain as a senior in 2005-06. He always had at least twice as many assists as goals per season with the Wolverines, including going 6-31 as a junior and 14-28 last year.

And he's the primary conductor with Binghamton, for which he has eight goals and 19 assists. That helpers total ranks him tied for second among AHL rookies.

"I'm not flashy. When I get my chance with the puck, I make the simple, easy play. I can read the play quick,'' Ebbett said. "Coach (Dave Cameron) is always getting on me to shoot more. I'm trying to work on that, but I've always been a pass-first guy. I have the easier job feeding them (linemates) the puck. They have to shoot and score.''

The good thing about dishing is that it tends to gain a player appreciation on the ice. That's something that Ebbett needed in Ottawa's camp, where, as an undrafted free-agent out of college, virtually none of his teammates knew anything about him.

"I definitely came in unheralded. I didn't have much expectations. Probably, no one else did,'' he said.

"I guess a guy not drafted by a team might be less known, but he did a lot of good things in college,'' said Senators forward Josh Hennessy. "I think he was a pleasant surprise in that he adapted so quickly to the (pro) level. His main attribute is he's smart. He really thinks the game. He gets in the soft areas, the open ice.''

Ebbett's quick adjustment and production might have caught Cameron off-guard, too, except that the coach knew so little about him that he didn't know where his bar should be set.

"I didn't know what he was going to do or what he was capable of doing. So I think it's a credit to him that he's come in and done what he's done so far,'' Cameron said. "At this point you can say he's a pleasant surprise. But let's see what happens after the 80-game schedule. Anytime you go from playing a college or a junior schedule the grind wears on you. That's a challenge to anybody.''

A fair enough observation, for sure, especially considering Ebbett's 5-foot-9, 172-pound frame. One reason to believe that Ebbett, 23, might be able to climb over that pro wall of fatigue is the delight he seems to take in the little, grind-'em-out parts of the game.

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