It was an optional practice day for the Sens at Sensplex on Wednesday and, after the skate, Paul MacLean addressed the media at Canadian Tire Centre.
Here's what he had to say...
On tomorrow's game:
Well I think our last four games we've steadily gotten better and tomorrow night's the next one against a difficult opponent with a playoff history against so that should give the game some energy and some excitement. We're looking forward to getting out and getting playing and seeing if we can continue to get better as a team.
It's positive that he was out there today, he still has some stiffness so he's still day-to-day. We'll take it as that right now, but it's positive that he had the equipment on and he was on the ice.
On the progression being structure or player based:
I think it's a combination of both. Certainly getting the rust off and playing better certainly leads to better structure and better work ethic within the group. We've gotten better in our own zone, our young defence had some issues with being young early in the season. The more we've practiced, the more we've worked at it, the more we've played, they're getting better and they're getting better and they're good players and they've gotten better. Players that have missed a big a chunk of time last year in the seasons again are now back playing games and they're getting better and better. I think all of those combinations have led us to where we are now where we are improving as a team and can we continue to get better is now the challenge for us.
On Karlsson's improvement:
I think it's just his instincts to play are better. He's back playing the game. Earlier his instincts were maybe a bit more survivalist and just taking care of things, he was just playing I guess is better than survivalist. Now he's got the instincts back of when to do things and when not to do things instead of just doing things. I think he has more control over his game…We don't have any ceiling for him so he can just keep going. I think his skating ability is obviously back there. I thought the way he played last night, he really controlled a lot of the pace of the game and the tempo of the game and if that continues he can continue and we've very looking forward to watching that.
On renewing things with Montreal:
History says that rivalries can be made in a playoff series and we certainly had one last year so our anticipation is that it's going to be a difficult game tonight. Mostly for us, not based so much on last year but on this year, we're still trying to find our game. We're more worried about where our game is than their game is. I think any time you play an opponent you've played in the playoffs, you should expect that it's going to be a game. You shouldn't be disappointed.
On Montreal as a different team:
If these guys are all healthy they're a different team but they're also similar. I think the way that they play is probably not drastically different. They have a couple of players as Parros and whatnot to address the physicality of it, but the way that they play and how hard they play and how good their goaltending is, that's going to be the same. They're still a difficult opponent no matter who they have dressed.
On if the Eller hit has affected Gryba:
Not in any conversation I've had with him, no.
On the MacArthur-Turris-Ryan line:
They all have speed and skill and good instincts and they're playing the right way. They're playing within the structure of the team and they're having success doing it. They're all good players and they play with speed and skill.
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