The Sens are heading off for their longest road trip since the six game trek that opened this season and it will begin on Wednesday night on Colorado. Sens head coach Paul MacLean offered his thoughts on the trip ahead after today's practice.
Here's what he had to say...
On if he expects Spezza to play Wednesday:
That is the expectation, yes.
On keeping the Zibanejad line intact:
I wanted to break them up like crazy but nobody would let me so between Bryan Murray and Dave Cameron and Mark Reeds and Rick Wamsley, Mika, Milo, nobody wants me to — I want to break them up for sure. Nobody will let me so I have to keep them together.
On splitting up the checking line:
It was hard to do too but at least I got to do something. There was one line that was going good so I got to break them up. That's what we did today, what we'll end up doing for the game, we'll see. We haven't made a final determination yet on that assessing Colorado's lineup and who will be in and out, but we know that we're getting Jason back and that's a good thing for our team.
On the importance of a checking line on the road:
For me it's not so much the line as it is the centre and the D pair as far as a threesome goes if you're looking to play against somebody. We put Zack on the left wing today, if we need him to play against — we're going to Colorado so is it Duchene or Landeskog or whoever is playing centre, do we need him to play on the wing to play against that group? We're going to make that determination as we move forward. Zack has done a, I think, very good job through the first 44 games of being that kind of a player for us and it's an important role for us and certainly you don't want to take him out of it by any means, we'll just see how it goes tomorrow before we get ready for the game.
On if Neil will travel:
Yes he is expected to travel and practice. We feel he'll be ready before the end of the trip but it might not be until the Minnesota game. At this point he is positive that he's going to come with us.
On the mood of the team:
Well it's way better than when we didn't. I think any time you have success it gives you, I guess confidence is the word they use, but I think you're just playing better so you're feeling better, everything is looser, you're not quite as tight and tentative as you were before you started to have success. I think it's not just these last four games that we have had success, I think it has been a longer period of time than that for us. Since, I think, the first of December is when we started to turn things around. I think our attitude has improved much better as we've gone game by game.
On the pressure to win the next one with Spezza's return:
I think we just need to win to win, we win as a team and we lose as a team, it's not really any — they pick the three stars every night but we'd like to think that our team plays well enough and individuals play well in our team game. That's what we expect in Colorado is to go out and give ourselves a chance to win no matter who is in the lineup.
On if he senses additional pressure on the team:
I don't, we've got enough pressure just trying to win the next game and get ready for the next game without saying we have to or we need to because of this or because of that. We just flat out need to win some games.
On if he'll play Anderson vs. his former team:
I hadn't even started thinking about that, I've given myself a couple of days off... from thinking in general. I'm just starting back today so I'm not up to speed yet.
On the road month ahead:
Well we want to be able to play anywhere any time and play well and having success on the road is also a sign of an — if you want to be considered an elite team you have to be able to play anywhere. We know we're not considered an elite team at this point but that's what we're working towards and in order to do that you have to be good on the road and we need to continue to work at that. We believe our game is getting much more consistent, there's still lots of things we could do better and the next game gives us an opportunity to continue to work at it. We've had success on the road in the past, we believe we know how to do it, we just have to go out and do it.
On if they're better off against Western teams now:
We'll find out, the next three are against Western opponents and all are three are having their degrees of success as well within their seasons and we've got to be ready for them. They've been beating up on the East apparently so we better try to get a little back.
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