After last night's tough 8-4 loss to the Rangers, Sens head coach Paul MacLean offered his thoughts on the team and the road ahead at the conclusion of Wednesday's practice.
Here's what he had to say...
Craig practiced today, he's still not going to be ready to go so I believe we're in the process of bringing Andrew Hammond to the game tomorrow. We'll decide after the game or Friday if we need to take him on the road with us. At this point, that's where it stands.
Lawson has got a lower body injury and right now he's day-to-day I would say. He won't be able to back up tomorrow.
On concerns about Lehner's confidence:
I'm not sure if I'm worried about it but it is a learning process that he's going through which is part of the process of being in the NHL. Being an NHL goaltender every day, it's not always going to go your way and a lot of times the judge of your character and the judge of your ability as a play is how do you respond to what's going on around you. That's the challenge and maybe Robin hasn't had that challenge. This is something he has to go through. Eventually if you aspire to be a number one goalie in the National Hockey League it's not always going to be smooth, there's going to be rough patches and you have to respond to those rough patches. Your team needs you to just go out and be the goalie, they don't need you to be anything special, they just need you to be the goalie. That's the big thing and the message we're sending to Robin, just come in tomorrow and be the goalie.
On if the team is fragile:
I think we've been an inconsistent team all year long, we've turned the puck over, for the most part, all the time, we play in our end too much because of that and those things are still coming back to haunt us. The biggest concern to me is that game 68 we still do those types of things but we're still a young group, we're still a group that's rebuilding, we're still a group that's trying to find itself and grow as a group. We've faced adversity in a lot of differerent ways since I've been here and this is just another way of it. We need to make sure we continue to work at our game. Fragile? Yeah, we had the game 3-1 in Montreal and at 3:30 the game's gone. We had it 2-1 last night. The Colorado game I thought was a very well played game but it's 0-0. Do we force things? Do we get a little bit too tight? I think we've played more tight and tentative than we have just loose and playing. That's part of learning how to be a consistent team and a good team is that when things are going right you continue to do the things that made it right.
On the inability to play a full game:
There's probably a number of factors but the biggest one is probably the opposition sometimes changing their game and not always behaving the way we want them to, but it's also that consistency which breeds confidence. We try to, I though in the Colorado game for example, we tried to force something to make something happen. In Montreal the game was going along really good and we relax. We don't have the concept that it's a 60 or 65 minute game. The game is never over until the horn goes and the game is over. We have to find within ourselves that we have to keep playing the game. We flat out at times stop playing the game where we pause and the puck goes from offence to defence and we're like, "Oh, what happened there," and now they're going the other way. That's part of being young, that's part of learning to be a good team and a consistent team and we've got to keep working at it.
On falling short of expectations:
It's not unreasonable to say that we'd expect our team to improve, yes, but our expectation as a group was to continue to build towards being an elite team. We understood the adversity we faced last year was significant with the injuries we faced and then this year coming back we were going to face bringing those players back and the players we brought in we'd have to integrate. It wasn't going to be the same group, it's a different group this year and a different thing to do. The expectation was it was going to be better, yes, that was the expectation but as far as it could be beyond continuing to get better and continuing to be a better team, it wasn't a specific thing that we had to do "this" to be successful.
On running out of time to like where they are at the end:
I truly believe that and I still do but I don't disagree that at the end of it we may not like it. All I know is that if we come here every day and try to get better and try to work at our game then we should have some improvement at some point in time. We haven't improved at the level we certainly thought we would for whatever the factors are but if I know one thing it's we have to keep working at it.
On the frustrating re: compete level and execution:
Execution is not only passing the puck and receiving it, it's also the system play and being in the right place and working to get open. Part of the execution is also work ethic and playing longer and harder than the opposition as an attitude a lot of times and I think our team this year has been a little bit more skill based in its approach than work ethic based. I think we're having a conflict between what we are and what we want to be and what should be as far as those aspects of our team. It's what are we?
On the team's battling:
That's part of the competition. Puck battles, puck races, faceoffs, net front, boxing out at your own net. All of those competition type of things, sometimes we are entering those confrontations trying to be skillfull as opposed to being work ethic based.
On the team playing for pride now:
Well I thought we should play for pride the whole year, not just the last 15 games. At the same time mathematically things aren't in our favour, but we've got to play the games. I think we need to take great pride in saying we've played the 82 games and we played them hard. Now, we've said lots of times we haven't played hard enough or long enough but you have to start somewhere.
On if the message isn't getting through:
I know we need keep practicing it. What is it, 10,000 hours to change habits and do things? We should have been practicing more.
On if there are concerns about the motivation level:
They're NHL players and the expectation is that they're going to come here and play and they're going to work. Again, we've talked enough about it that we don't play long enough and hard enough but that's still the expectation from the coaching staff and we're going to continue to put that on them is to come here and play hard.
On if he has gotten enough from the leadership group:
Well I think we haven't got enough from all of our players. They're the representatives of the group. So, have we got enough from the coaching staff? When this all comes down we're all in it together and where we are is where we are. Everybody has a piece.
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