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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Two Ottawa Senators use the Olympic break to pop the question

OTTAWA - Bobby Ryan made the most of his Olympic break after he was left off Team USA.

The Ottawa Senators' winger proposed to longtime girlfriend Danielle Rhodes on the Eiffel Tower while on vacation in Paris.

"It was just a quick 15-second, normal proposal," said Ryan. "She said yes and then it was so windy we had to get off anyway because it was too cold to stay up there."

Ryan said the most nerve-wracking part of the proposal was getting the ring through security without Rhodes seeing it.

"I had to sneak it through security and tuck it in my scarf when we were going through."

Ryan had a little help from teammate Jason Spezza to help ensure the proposal was a surprise. Ryan had given the ring to Spezza for safekeeping and to ensure Rhodes didn't come across it.

"I was the ring bearer for a while," said Spezza with a laugh. "It was good to give it back. Took the pressure off me from losing it."

Now that the ring has been given Ryan said his work is done and he will let his fiancee deal with the wedding details.

"I'm out now," said Ryan laughing. "I told her once I handed that over the rest is on you just tell me when and where to be."

Ryan was not the only one to pop the question as Cory Conacher also proposed to girlfriend Shaynen Chadwick while in Turks and Caicos.

"I did it on the beach and then went for a nice dinner afterwards," said Conacher. "I think she was surprised because I did it early in the trip and she wasn't expecting that. It was a great night for us."

Conacher says he Chadwick plan on enjoying their new status and will likely wait until next summer before tying the knot.

"She's already stressing about where we're going to do it and how many people we're going to invite," said Conacher. "It's going to be fun planning the wedding, but she gets stressed pretty easy so I think this summer we'll just have fun with it and work on the details."

Ryan and Conacher co-ordinated their proposals prior to heading out on vacation.

"The biggest thing with social media is we didn't want one of the girls to find out in the morning and then have all afternoon to be pissed off at the other guy," said Ryan. "I knew (Conacher) was doing it in the daytime and with the time change I just asked him if he could hold off on the announcement so one girl wouldn't be mad on vacation."

While most players enjoyed the break they were happy to get back on the ice, although they pushed back the start of practice to watch Canada play Latvia in the men's quarter-final.

"It was a tight one," said Phillips. "Give the Latvians credit. They played well and had some chances, but pleased with the outcome."

Canada faces the U.S. Friday in the semi-final and players are looking forward to watching the match-up.

As an alternate captain Phillips said a discussion might be in order regarding practice time, as he knows everyone will want to see the game in its entirety.

Players from both side of the border are excited about the game, although Ryan says with only four Americans on the team he is feeling slightly outnumbered.

"Both those teams look so good," said Ryan. "It's going to be a heck of a battle on Friday. I'm looking forward to it for sure. I've got to start making some bets with guys in here."

Ryan feels both teams match-up well and was hesitant to pick a favourite.

"It's going to come down to goaltending," added Ryan. "You've got two of the best in the tournament right now and two of the best in the world. Both teams offensively are so gifted they're going to get opportunities so I think it's going to come down to who can stay out of the box and which goalie plays better."

Spezza says he's excited for the game and anticipates an extremely competitive atmosphere.

"It's a good match-up for both teams," said Spezza. "It will be a good game to watch as a hockey fan."

Notes: D Chris Phillips returned to the ice with his teammates. He has missed the last seven games with a lower body injury. "I felt pretty good. You never know until you get on the ice and I had my fingers crossed and I was pretty pleased with how I felt."…D Jared Cowen did not take part in practice as he is suffering from the flu… The Senators will hold practice on a local outdoor rink Thursday.

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