The Sens are about to take to skies and head to Winnipeg for tonight's first pre-season game against the Jets. The team had a morning skate at Canadian Tire Centre ahead of the action and, afterwards, Sens head coach Paul MacLean met with the media prior to the team's departure for Manitoba.
Here's what he had to say about tonight's first game of the pre-season...
On the expectations for tonight's game vs. Winnipeg:
We're looking for the structure and the foundation of our team in the game tonight and we're also excited to see Michalek, Spezza and Bobby Ryan playing a game and Karlsson back in the lineup with Methot and to see Robin Lehner start the game and play. Then, everyone else that's in the lineup, we're looking to see how they've done through training camp and how they adjust to playing in a National Hockey League game.
On if he can get an assessment this quickly:
I think to be fair to them, when they play the games is when you really get the assessment of them. Practicing against their own teammates is different from playing against an opponent. I think we'll have a place to start in our evaluations of them from the rookie camp and past seasons they've played and, when they do play in the exhibition games, we get a chance to evaluate them at the NHL level. We're looking forward to that opportunity.
On the Spezza/Michalek/Ryan line:
I think it's important to give them the opportunity to develop chemistry first of all. What's the timeline on that? Is it one game, two weeks, we're going to play them tonight to see how it goes and we're going to give them more than one game to see if they can get the chemistry going. It looks good in the scrimmages we've had, they've played pretty well together, but again, that's against their own teammates, it's not against opponents. But, we're going to give them as much time as we can so they can develop some chemistry.
On the goaltending plan in place:
Robin Lehner is going to start tonight and we'll make a decision through the game to see how it goes... All three of them are going to play in the two games, we just haven't decided who's starting, who's finishing or when we're going to put guys in, if it's going to be half a game or if it'll be 40s and 20s or half and halfs. We're still kind of kicking that around.
On Joe Corvo:
He's an NHL player, he's played in the league, he's a veteran player and I think for him, we do things a little bit differently than he might have been used to in other places but I think he's doing a good job of finding out how we do things and applying himself.
On if he'll use him in tandem with offensive or defensive defencemen:
It all depends on how they're all playing. We can only play them six at a time too, so with Patrick (Wiercioch) and Joe I think they're going to have, at times, multiple partners, interchangeable partners, but we'd also like to see if they can play together because we can have the lefty-righty combination. If you don't have that we'd have to put someone on their off-side and we're not sure who that would be yet.
On the Turris line playing Monday:
I would anticipate that, yeah.
On if the preparation changes with the amount of travel and work:
No, I think it's more about the schedule. We're supposed to play back-to-back games, we do it often enough after last year, we're kind of used to not practicing long and going so no, I don't think it's going to be a hard thing for us to do at all.
On if game management changes for players who were hurt last year:
We would like to, for Jason and Erik, we'd like to get them in as many games as we can. We know we can't play them in all eight of them, but we can get them in as many as five. I think it's important for them to play games and they'll get more out of games than they will out of practices and we're going to try to get them in as many as we can.
On Eric Gryba's status:
He's not coming with us and he's not skating today, but he walked in on his own so that's a positive thing, but right now I guess he's day-to-day.
On Curtis Lazar's status:
He's doing fine. I think he can skate, I don't know if he's going to skate today or not, but we're just making sure everything is good with him before we do anything with him.
Coach MacLean's full scrum can be seen here courtesy of Sens TV:
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