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Coach MacLean ahead of the first gameday of the season

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

Sens head coach Paul MacLean offered his thoughts on the opening of the NHL season. Here's what he had to say...

On excitement for the season:

We get to watch real hockey tonight before getting into tomorrow and it's an exciting time of the year. We're full of butterflies and anticipation and a good amount of fear as well. At the same time the fear is more about excitement. I think we're really excited about getting our season started here tomorrow night, we've put in a lot of work and we're anxious to see if it pays off.

On closing the book on last season:

We're past last year and all we're concentrating on is today and what we can do to get better today. We feel the work we've done in training camp has already showed itself in our exhibition games. We need to continue to work at it every day and find a way to win games.

On the importance of a good start:

Over the years if you get off to a good start you can make things an awful lot easier for yourself down the road. Points are the points in October just as they are in April, but it seems way harder to get them in April than they do in October. Being ready for the games at the start and — the most important thing for us is gaining momentum as a team and finding ourselves. We feel we have a pretty good identity of who we are. We have to take that into the regular season and build some momentum with that.

On the lineup:

Craig Anderson is going to start in goal. As far as the rest of the lineup we're going to continue tonight and tomorrow to finalize it. At this point it'll look similar to what it was the last couple of practice days. There still are some considerations we have to make when we go through Nashville's team and see if there's something else we have to do. At this point we don't anticipate changing from what the sheet said today.

On the power play:

In the two games against Montreal the power play won it for us. The thing we liked best was not only that they scored but the way they went about doing it. I thought they were very organized and had a sense of purpose of what they wanted to do when they went out on the ice and they did it. Some of it was maybe a bit of a bounce like in Montreal on the Legwand goal but every time they were organized and all trying to do the same thing. It made a big difference.

On if young players are ready to step in:

It's early yet but I think over the three years I've been here we've had young players step in and play every year and there's no difference this year. I think the difference this year is the age of Curtis stepping up and playing, Cody Ceci again coming in and playing. They're coming in at a younger age which means good drafting and good player development and good coaching from Luke and Steve Stirling in Binghamton that these players are able to develop and come here and now they're pushing. They're taking jobs on our team. Any time you can have that internal competition for jobs, I think that makes you better.

On the changing faces from last year:

The biggest thing we feel in the seven different names is the competition level has gone up. Not just on the puck but for jobs. The job competition is more or as important as the competition level on the puck and on the ice in puck battles. That's the thing we sense is a difference in our group from last year to this year is our sense of competition.

On why Anderson is starting:

He's a number one goalie and it's the first game of the year. Craig's the goalie.

On the changes in Nashville:

It's a Peter Laviolette coached team and not a Barry Trotz coached team so that's a difference. Some of their players are different with Ribeiro and Derek Roy, they arugably haven't had that type of centreman before. They're playing a more uptempo and active game from their defencemen like Peter likes to play. They can. They have a guy named Pekka Rinne so that hasn't changed from Barry Trotz. He's an outstanding goaltender. Shea Weber could be one of the best in the League, obviously he shoots it hard. They have a good, balanced team. They're going to be a handful but we're looking forward to it.

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