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From the coach: Dec. 10th, 2019

by Craig Medaglia @craigmedaglia / Ottawa Senators

Following today's practice at Canadian Tire Centre, head coach D.J. Smith met with the media and shared some updates and insights on his team ahead of tomorrow's game in Montreal.

His thoughts on Nick Paul's play of late:

He's been great. He could have played a lot more minutes last game. We're trying to get other guys going as well and I know what Nick can do. He's a dependable player and when the games get down to it and you're tied and you need important minutes, Nick can do that for us. I'm looking to get him a few more minutes coming up here shortly and I think he's a good piece to this hockey team going forward.


On Ron Hainsey playing in his 1,100th NHL game tomorrow night:

The best part about Ron is that his game has changed from an offensive guy to a defensive guy. He's found a way to stay in the league by doing it right and by not riding the ups and downs. He's an even keel guy win or lose, he's good to have around young guys, he treats everyone with respect and he's a guy in the locker room that kind of looks after everything.


How Hainsey's even keel approach can benefit the Senators this year:

When you get into situations where you win a few games and you think you're ready for the Stanley Cup, then you lose 4 or 5 in a row…Ron's the same no matter what. I think that's invaluable for our players to see that you just have to bring your game every day. The hardest part about the NHL, unlike Junior and a lot of other leagues where it's more of a weekend league, is you play tomorrow and then it's a practice day and then it's a game again. Winning streaks and losing streaks can add up quickly so you have to learn to turn the page quickly and I think Ron helps us do that.


On Hainsey's contributions to the Sens this season:

Both on and off the ice I think Ron has been very good. I think he's been better the last 6 weeks…he knows how to close games out and he never panics. Off the ice, he's always working out and he's a true pro on and off the ice and I think it's invaluable for our young guys going forward.


On working towards being more consistent:

I think a lot of young teams tend to play better at home. They're more comfortable and we get the last change but in time I think you'll see us be better on the road for sure. In saying that, I think it all comes back to being as simple as work hard all the time. If you work and put the team first, you're going to stay in a lot of games in this league. I know it's tough for young guys, they want to get their points, and they need them as well, but when you put the team first and you work hard it's amazing what can happen in this league.


On Anthony Duclair hitting another gear recently:

He's confident, he's skating, he's shooting the puck and he's at the point now where he's in real good shape and he's starting to see that when he brings his best effort, he's going to get chances in this league every night. There will be stretches where he'll be streaky for sure but he's been good on the penalty kill and he got a shorty in Philadelphia the other night. For me, as long as he's playing stress-free hockey and having fun, he's going to score goals.

Video: BOS@OTT: Duclair goes upstairs on Rask from the slot


On Anders Nilsson's play against the Bruins:

He was outstanding, especially when we needed him in the second period. That game could have easily gone the other way if they scored a couple and then we're on our heels. He just looked really solid and I thought our defence was really good in front of him as well. They blocked a lot of shots and we had a good team mentality so all in all we found a way to win.


On Nilsson's opportunity to be the starter with Craig Anderson sidelined:

Mentally it's challenging, physically it's challenging and it's a hard part to get over. Some nights we see a lot of chances and I think he's done a really good job. In saying that, to be one of those elite teams, you're going to need two goalies. I don't know what the magic number is that they can play in a year but your back-up is probably going to have to play 30 games in today's era. It's unfortunate that Andy got hurt but that lets us give Hogberg some games and he's a guy that's pushing for the future as well.


An injury update on Anderson:

I think he might skate tomorrow. I don't suspect that he'll be out very long and we'll get him back in there playing.


An injury update on Scott Sabourin:

He's getting closer but we're not going to rush him. He hasn't been cleared for contact yet but he's skating out there and I thought he's been a good energy to have out there for the guys. When he's cleared for contact, we'll really put him through the paces and make sure he's 1,000% before we put him in a situation to go out there.

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