The Sens hit the ice for practice on Friday afternoon to prepare for Saturday's game with the New York Rangers at Canadian Tire Centre. After the skate, Sens head coach Paul MacLean offered his thoughts on the upcoming game and the team.
Here's what he had to say...
On if Neil will play:
I suspect he will be ready tomorrow, he had a good day today and our anticipation and expectation is that he will play tomorrow.
On if he had a setback:
During the afternoon after the practice he had a little discomfort so we said "Hey, let's make sure," so we're going to make sure.
On tomorrow's starter:
On if he expects Anderson to bounce back from the OT winning goal:
Yes. I thought three of the goals were breakaways, we kicked one of them in the net. You'd like to see him make a save on one of them, sure, but at the end of the day they're clear cut breakaways on three of them. He's playing tomorrow.
On if the playoff race adds importance to tomorrow:
I think it does. Every game is important, it has its own importance to it. All the games we play right now seem to be against all the teams we're lumped in there with. Every game that's played in the league right now heading into the Olympic break, I think everybody has a real focus on this stretch of games of getting yourself in a position so after the Olympic break you either have something to play for or you don't have something to play for. It's going to be way harder after the Olympic break to get yourself into a good position, I think because there's not enough games left than before the Olympic break. You listen to New Jersey, you listen to the Rangers broadcast, you listen to everybody's that's in this pile and they're all same thing. These are important games for us and we have to get ourselves in a good position, we're no different than anyone else.
On if the goal is to get into a playoff spot before the break:
We'd like to be as good as we are, yeah, as good as we can be. These games that we're playing against everyone in this area is going to tell us where we're going to be.
On Subban's celebration:
I just worry about my team, I don't worry about the other team. I've got a hard enough job worrying about my team. I'm not concerned with theirs.
On playing with Alain Vigneault:
Very briefly…He was like 15 and I was 19. There were three English guys on the team, I was one of them. He was a first round pick of the team, he was an impressive junior as a defenceman.
On Mark Stone:
I think he's healthy and the work that he has put in — the one benefit I guess he has had from the injuries he has had the last couple of years is he has had extra time in the gym and extra time to work with Marc Power on our power skating and work on his skating. There's a significant difference in his play. He's stronger now, he's stronger in his skating and his skating is better and I think it, in the end, has been good for him actually to be hurt. He has been able to do extra work and have himself ready and he hasn't hurt himself at all.
On if Stone can become the big bodied scorer the team wants:
We'll see. Our expectation is that he can play in the league and have success but he is what? Seven games in? Eight or 10 games into it? It's early to say he's going to be saying he's going to do something like that but he is creating scoring opportunities and he's getting opportunities so we'll see. I guess the simple answer to your question is yes he could.
On differences in the Rangers under Vigneault:
I guess the biggest difference is their blocked shots are down from when John coached the team but I think they're still a very competitive team. Their goaltender is very good, they have Rick Nash and Brassard have played very well for their team, in the back end with Girardi and McDonagh are still a very capable pair. They're a good team. Zuccarello the Norwegian kid has really played well for them this year, Brad Richards has got 35 points. They're going to be a test and we look forward to it.
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