The Sens were on the ice for practice at Bell Sensplex on Saturday after Friday night's 2-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Clarke MacArthur was the lone practice absence as the team gears up to take on the San Jose Sharks this Sunday afternoon.
Sens head coach Paul MacLean fielded questions back at Canadian Tire Centre after the skate. Here's what he had to say...
On tomorrow's goaltender:
Craig Anderson will play in goal tomorrow.
On Anderson's play:
I thought Craig and Robin have been our best players and most consistent players since the season started. Craig's a number one goalie and historically plays games. The schedule right now with every other day is conducive to him playing and when he's playing well we're a hard team to beat.
On if Lehner was considered for Sunday:
I think we considered it for sure, but at the same time Craig is a number one goalie and, as I just mentioned, the schedule is conducive to getting him in the net and getting him playing well and as long as he is we'll do that.
On if there's a long term goaltending schedule:
Not really, no. I could say he's going to play the next 10 but it could change after tomorrow's game too. I try to go day by day, but we would like to get Craig — as long as he's playing well, we'll keep him playing.
On tomorrow's lineup:
Wiercioch will go in tomorrow and Gryba will come out…Pageau we're going to give consideration, the injury he has has healed up and we're going to give it overnight and give it some consideration.
On Clarke MacArthur's practice absence:
He had a maintenance day today so it should be okay tomorrow, but we'll see what it's like in the morning.
On Turris playing the PP point:
Well, I'm not sure we put we put him on the point — I guess we did put him on the point. With the ice time Erik is logging and not having Wiercioch in the lineup as another power play guy with Corvo and Chris Phillips back there, we felt we needed somebody else that could take some of those minutes and we felt that Kyle's defensive game and his skating ability that he would be — and obviously his shooting ability in that formation we have could work, possibly. We practiced for a couple of days, I don't think we did it for two weeks or anything, but we practiced it for at least a couple of days so they would be used to it and they wouldn't be strange when they went around the ice and we'll see how it goes. I thought they had a couple of scoring opportunities in the game last night. They could have used one to go in the net, obviously, but I thought he really ripped one in the third period and then Bobby had a couple of chances too.
On Turris playing the PP point with Wiercioch in:
We're not going to be afraid to use it now that we've used it once. We're always scared to death to use it the first time when you talk about using four forwards on the ice and you haven't done it and haven't practiced it a lot, it can be something that you're a little cautious about, but we're playing a pretty good opponent again tomorrow and if we need it we'll go to it.
On if Zibanejad will play with Spezza and Michalek:
Well, that's something that's always — I'm not sure about that. He finished there last night and practiced there tonight without Clarke skating today, we made an adjustment and put Conacher on that line so we needed someone to play in that spot so I'm not sure if it's going to stay or not.
On if he's happy with Zibanejad's game:
Oh yeah, we're very happy with how Mika's come in. He's scored, he's played well in the games he has played, he's been a factor in the games so we're pleased with how he has played.
On using Zibanejad as a winger or centre:
Mika's still a young player and there's a lot that he can learn, even playing centre ice. Unfortunately it's way easier to learn those things in the American Hockey League than it is in the National Hockey League. So when you get up here, we really want to win the games. So, those faceoffs become very important, so depending on where they are on the ice a guy with a little more experience — although Derek Grant doesn't have tons more experience, but has a percentage rate, he would take the faceoff. We still think that Mika long term is a centre ice man, but short term is wherever we need him.
On how matching up against top centres:
It all depends on if you're at home or on the road and how you can do that matchup. We can pick it at home a little bit more than we did on the road. In Detroit, they picked the matchup and wanted to play Datsyuk against him so we accepted it. Here last night we wanted to play Getzlaf against Spezza and as it turned out it, it ends up 2-0 for Getzlaf. Did we do the right thing? We can look back on it and say maybe no, but at the same time Jason's responsibilities and total game is also important to us and in order to have an expectation for him to do that in big moments in the game or in the future in big games, you've got to start somewhere. We decide who Jason plays against based on who we're playing and at this point we want him playing against the best guys.
On matching Spezza against San Jose's top two lines:
He'll get one of them for sure, he can't get both.
On Smith/Neil as an energy line:
Well that's part of their job description is to be the energy group and the physical group, and they've been fine. They've contributed on offence and as long as they continue to get pucks in and get on the forecheck they're very effective.
On if they have the speed to match top teams:
Well we aren't with Anaheim. They came in here and they skated us both times. I thought they outskated us in Anaheim by a large margin and I thought they skated us last night as well. I thought they carried a lot of the play as well. We feel that we're a team that can play 200 feet and play fast, but right now our execution and attention to detail slows us down compared to what theirs is. Their structure and attention to detail, I think, is a little bit better than ours and that led to their being quicker. That's what we're saying right now.
On if they have the personnel to play fast:
I think so. We certainly believe that we do. Right now for us, the thing that slows us down the most is our execution. We don't pass the puck near quick enough or well enough.
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