The Sens crossed the Ottawa River into Gatineau for practice today as they took to the ice at the Robert Guertin Arena, home of the Olympiques where Paul MacLean spent some time during his junior hockey career. He had his standard media availability after the team's skate.
Here's what he had to say...
On the last time he was on the ice at Robert Guertin Arena:
I would say March of 1978 would probably be the last time or it possibly could have been the summer of '78. I think I came back and skated a couple of times before I went to the Blues camp, but it wasn't yesterday. It was still lots of fun. Anytime you can go back to somewhere where you've been and, although it has changed for the better, it's still a good old barn and the ice is good. It was fun to be here.
On feeling like a kid again on the ice:
I was 19 when I was here and no I didn't, I felt like I was 55... I thought the ice was way better back then than it was today. There wasn't as much glide as there used to be for me but that could be because of me. Again, it was an opportunity for me that I got to play here and ended up being a good year for me personally. As a group, the team, I don't recall us having a tremendous amount of success but for myself personally it was quite an achievement to come from Nova Scotia as a 19 year old and be able to play here.
On if he learned any French playing junior in Gatineau:
I heard a couple of them when I came in but I don't know if we're allowed to use them anymore.
On the absences of Anderson and Neil from practice:
Craig Anderson has gone to Florida for the birth of his second child and he'll let us know when he's going to be back. At this point in time, we're not making any plans — different plans — for Thursday unless we have to. Chris Neil had a maintenance day.
On if Anderson isn't back in time for Thursday:
If Craig needs to stay longer to be there for the birth we'd need to call up a goalie or bring somebody in.
On if the pressure on a young team is a good thing:
I think we're always trying to get better, every day trying to get better and I think this is another set of circumstances that may be different for us. I also think it's a chance for us to test ourselves and push ourselves to see if we can accomplish a playoff spot by the 82nd game. That's our goal is to work at that every day.
On playing Zibanejad at centre:
My personal opinion is yes (he should play centre) but I'm not the only one in the organization who makes that decision. Most of all Mika makes the decision for us when we play him at centre — he plays better and we end up being a better team. What we need now is our best team on the ice every night... Part of being a good pro and teammate is playing where we tell you to play and how we need you to play. At the same time we also like to put people into positions to succeed and we're not trying to get a forward and turn him into a defenceman or turn a defenceman into a forward. A young player that's a centreman, if you can play the wing or centre — it was proven in the tournament we watched last week. There were an awful lot of centremen playing on the wing and it turned out to be a pretty good opportunity for some of them. Being able to play multiple positions and have multiple roles on a team only makes you more valuable to your teammates than if you're just a one-dimensional player.
On potentially separating Ryan from Turris and MacArthur:
Well we haven't played a game yet so we don't know if they are away. In practice today and yesterday they were away but the comforting thing about successful lines we've had in the first 59 games is we can always go back to those. This, again, is a practice block where we have an opportunity over consecutive days to see if we would like to see some different combinations. We're trying to find our best team and this is an opportunity for us to see some different combinations and see if maybe these can work better and, if not, we can always go back to the other ones.
On his "bingo ball machine" for line combos:
It's still around, we didn't get rid of it. They tried to damage it but we were able to find the screws to fit it at Canadian Tire.
On Hoffman potentially running out of chances:
No, I don't think so. At this point in time every player matures and finds a way into the league at their own rate. We feel and I thought that in the two days he has been here for practice, especially today, I thought he was very good. We just need him to take that into a game.
On Hoffman getting a puck to the mouth in practice:
That'll turn him into an NHLer right away, going to a dentist first. That's one of the perks of playing in this league — good dentistry.
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