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Coach MacLean on injuries, special teams and more

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

The Senators practiced on Wednesday, a day after 20 players remaining in camp fell by a 2-1 score to the Winnipeg Jets on the road. Here's what Paul MacLean had to say after today's skate...

On using four forwards on the PP:

Well the one group, they had the puck lots but it's always interesting when you get into the game and the penalty killers turn the puck over. When there's one guy there it can be a little more of a dangerous spot, that wasn't really evident how we did it today in the way that we did it. That's always a danger with four forwards is the pass that turns into a turnover that can quickly turn into a 2-on-1 the other way. That's why we practice it the way we did. It's something we wanted to look at, we've done it in the past with some success, we felt we'd give it a run today but we also practiced with two defencemen on the power play as well to give us both looks. At certain times in the game we're certainly not going to go with four forwards.

On Chiasson's absence from practice:

It was his birthday so if it's your birthday you get the day off... He had a bobo from last night, we kept him. He should practice tomorrow.

On players skating:

He (Marc Methot) had some public skating with Shean Donovan and Erik Condra was with them and then Condra joined us for practice. He got through it okay so it looks like, barring anything overnight, Condra could be available for Friday's game or Saturday's game, whichever we choose to play him in. Chiasson I expect will be available for practice tomorrow. Marc Methot is going to be a process of if he comes in tomorrow and he feels good he'll skate again with Shean Donovan and we're just going to take that process slow so we make sure we get it right.

On Methot's skating:

I think he skated yesterday for a short, short time. Today was a bigger window.

On using MacArthur-Legwand-Stone as a PP trio:

Legwand is a veteran guy and a lefthander and gives us a chance to go lefty-lefty with MacArthur where our power play has been largely dominated by right-handed players. We haven't really had that look from the left side with that type of player able to work that side so now we feel we can work both sides as opposed to being stuck on one side.

On Bobby Ryan being on a different PP line:

I'm not going to give them numbers. Mika's on that one and Chiasson will be on that one — Chris Neil was the presence on it (at practice) — so you can call it whatever you want. They're both going to get an opportunity to be out there. Whoever is ready to go will be out there.

On if he has seen defensive improvement thus far:

Yes, we feel the scoring chances our down, our shots on goal are down, those are all positives we take out of it. We're not really surprised our goal-scoring has suffered just a little bit when we're trying to do this and it's more of a focus so we feel that's going to come along as we get better and better at it and don't do it as often.

On if he gets frustrated by seeing similar mistakes to last season:

No, we're working at fixing them.

On what has changed defensively over the past two seasons:

A lot of that goals-against last year was the penalties we took — we took way too many penalties — and our competition level at the puck, where we turned pucks over. A big factor in the goals-against rising to the level it did and the penalties rising to the level it did was execution.

On the depth chart blueline:

It's sorting itself out just like the forward situation. The longer it goes on, the more it sorts itself out. By October 7 it'll all be sorted out... We're still working with them (pairings). The fact that Methot hasn't been able to participate, we're doing a little bit more experimenting because of that and we're still doing that. We're going to try tomorrow and certainly on the weekend to get down to some pairs that we're going to stick with.

On if Methot will be available for the weekend:

He has just started to skate so we don't anticipate putting him in any situation that we're going to make things worse. I know he would love to go out and play, and he wants to, but at the same time medically we have to make sure everything is in order for him so this isn't an ongoing thing.

On Smith or Lazar getting time on the wing:

Well there's lots of discussion about where we're going to play people and how we're going to play people and it's ongoing. Those are certainly two of the considerations we have to look at but we haven't made a final determination on them yet, though.

On moving Lazar over:

We're trying to give him the best opportunity to show us what he can do and what kind of player he is and he has been a centreman. He has proven in the World Junior last year that he can play the wing and still be a pretty effective player. That's against pretty good competition. I understand it's not the National Hockey League and it's not everyday in the National Hockey League but we feel that the move for him to go the wing would not be a difficult one is what I would anticipate. We're trying to get a real good read on him so that when we're projecting him and where he would be on our team it's at his best position and see if he's going to be better at that position than the people who are there as we project them. Or, do we need to put him on the wing and have him upgrade that position for us. That's what we're looking at and discussing.

On if there are changes to the defensive system:

Yes, we are doing some things that we feel are different. There's a lot of similarities but there are nuances to it. The most important thing we're looking for is our competition level at the puck to make sure we're much more competitive at the puck. We felt that competition level was too low.

On improved communication on the ice:

Communication is a big part of it but what's more important, the talker or the listener? There's lots of communication that's real good that falls on deaf ears. It's not communication unless someone is listening. That's the biggest thing we're encouraging is listening.

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