Paul MacLean spoke to the media after the Senators practice and scrimmage on Friday afternoon. Here's what he had to say...
On the team's injuries:
I believe Pageau is going to have a strong possibility he'll return tomorrow. The other guys we're going to keep them out another day. Now, they all came in and had good days today, Page had a better day. Right now I anticipate if he has a good start to the morning he'll practice tomorrow.
On concerns about Methot's absence:
It's a concern because he has the injury that's keeping him out but the most important thing for us is to be patient and make sure he's 100 per cent before we put him back on the ice and not try to force something and continue it into a longer process. It has already been a long enough process. We want to nip it in the bud and make sure that when he's back on the ice he's 100 per cent.
On the injuries stemming from Wednesday's games:
They all just came out the game with little bobos and we just want to make sure it doesn't grow into something bigger. So we're just going to keep them out. It's purely Gerry and I's decision to keep them out. If it was up to the players they'd all be out there skating.
On the excess of defenders coming in handy:
That's why you have eight or nine. You need more than just six to have success and that's why we have training camp to find who can play with who, who can do what and who's ready to help us win games.
On if Cowen would play with Karlsson if Methot isn't ready:
Well it's a reason to play them together and try. We tried Freddy Claesson there mostly because we were trying Jared with Cody Ceci to see if that could be a pair. Along with the lines and the D-pairs, we're trying to be patient. As a coach that doesn't have a lot of patience with line combinations and tandems sometimes, I'm trying to be very patient and try to let them have some time to work together, especially with the practices we have and the games and work through it. The injury to Marc has caused us to put Freddy in there to help and see if the other partnerships could have some chemistry. Now we're going to start to look at different things and Jared playing with Erik is one of the things we're going to look at.
On Cowen's play thus far:
I thought that it has been improving every day. The game in Toronto, although I didn't see it, the stuff that I've watched and the reports that I've received are that he was assertive and very physical which is a good start for him. Being the type of player he is, we need that.
On the expectations for Cowen:
The first thing we'd like to see from him is health and then to get himself back to where he was two years ago, back to the player who was a physical presence who made simple plays. We're looking for him to get back there and be consistent there. Once he gets consistent there we can raise expectations and say, "Can you get to here? Can you get to here?" Right now we're just trying to get him to be consistent and he's working at doing that.
On asking Cowen's development to come along more quickly:
Jared is one of the players on our team we have to take the young label off of now. He's a player. He has to be a player. It's time for him to be — some of the excuses and things we've looked past in a number of players in the past because they're good young players — right now we just need good players. We need them to be good players. Jared would be one of those.
On if he would play two puck movers on one pairing:
I think we would do that more on a power play situation than in a 5-on-5 situation, but under circumstances of the game — how you are in the game dictates that as well. If you're down or if you're up you play your people differently.
On the 4-on-4 emphasis at camp:
It comes up more often than we realize, how many times it happens in a game and lots of times it ends up being a difference in the game.
On Lazar's play:
To this point he has been okay... He has to continue to do what he's doing and just be himself. This is the first opportunity for myself and the coaching staff to really see him since last year. In training camp we see a huge difference in him from last year to this year in his size and his skating ability. The way he plays the game is pretty similar. He knows how to get around the rink, he knows his way around the rink. Now it's the physical size of the game and the battle against an NHL player. Right now he's acquitting himself, he's doing okay. We just want to see if he can maintain that or if he can get it a bit higher... I'm not trying to be derogatory or sarcastic in any way. He has been okay. What he has given us, our expectations for him, he's doing what he's doing. We don't want to put too much on him either and overdo it. Right now he's doing okay and we're happy with how he's going.
On the decision to keep Lazar:
The most important thing for us is, is he ready to play in the NHL? Is he ready to play 82 games and play in the National Hockey League? It's a big question and we're going to take as much time as we can to answer it. If he answers it beforehand and we make a decision on it, that's the way it's going to go. The National Hockey League is the best league in the world and you have to be ready for it. We're not just going to put him in there to put him in there, I don't think we're in that position. We're in the position that if he's ready to play in the National Hockey League, we're going to know and he's going to show us. If he's not we're going to make another decision.
On Wiercioch earning a regular spot:
Just like Jared and Cody, just keep being yourself, keep doing what you do at a high, consistent level. He's another player that, take the young label away, we need good players. Take the young label away, we need a good player. Not just a young player, not just a prospect anymore, we need you to be a good player and Patrick is another one of those players whose level of play needs to get higher and more consistent.
On if Wiercioch moved away from his game during his struggles:
I don't think so, it had to do with more the other people we had played better and gave us more of a chance to win. He's still working at his game, they're still working at their game and when he was out of the lineup the other guys, we felt, gave us a better chance to win.