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From the coach: Dec. 20th, 2019

by Craig Medaglia @craigmedaglia / Ottawa Senators

Following today's practice at Canadian Tire Centre, head coach D.J. Smith spoke with the media on a variety of topics including an update on some of his injured goalies, Thomas Chabot's ice-time of late and more before the Sens host the Philadelphia Flyers tomorrow night.

Some updates on tomorrow's line-up against the Flyers:

Ronnie's going to be out on the backend until after Christmas so we'll have Lajoie come up. Everything will stay the same up front.

 

On waiting to decide who starts in net tomorrow night:

We haven't decided yet. Andy was good today so I'll talk to Pierre (Groulx) and see how that goes but we'll make that decision in the morning.

 

On when Anders Nilsson sustained his concussion:

We don't know. He wasn't feeling good on the Florida trip, it was more flu related we thought so we're not sure if he got hit with a puck or what the case may be but they deemed that it is head related starting yesterday afternoon.

 

On losing Nilsson to injury:

I think goaltending has been one of our strengths this year for sure in spurts, whether it be Anderson or Nilsson or Hogberg. I don't have much concern there with a guy like Andy coming back. He's plenty capable.

 

On deciding who starts tomorrow after Hogberg's solid play recently:

I think his first two games, he was really, really sharp. I thought yesterday was a bit of a tougher game because they came at us a lot in the first, not much in the second and he gets cold and then they come back at you again in the third. I'll talk to Pierre Groulx but there's a plan for all these guys and it isn't just a guy comes in and plays good so you run with him. Andy's been a good goalie for a long time and if he's healthy, he'll play.

 

On taking into account the injuries on the blueline when deciding a starter:

That's part of it. It's not ideal how young we are but injuries happen in this game and I've said all along that kids train and people train all summer to get an opportunity to prove that they belong in the National Hockey League so with every injury comes an opportunity for someone else. Hainsey and Chabot have been playing huge minutes so with some of those minutes now out, someone's going to get an opportunity. Now you have to prove that you're deserving and that you belong. It's "next man up" and the guy has to do the job.

 

On how Ron Hainsey was injured last night:

He just kind of slipped on that 2-on-1 there and got his leg stuck in the ice. I think adrenaline allowed him to come back but after getting up this morning it's probably more of a week to 10 days thing. We're hopeful that he'll be back on the 28th but he's been really good for us and it's a big loss. It's an opportunity for someone else to step up and eat those minutes.

 

On how these injuries could further impact Thomas Chabot's ice-time:

We have to be smart there. Yesterday, you have a lead and an opportunity to win a hockey game then you can play him those kinds of minutes. That can't continue every night. In this situation, you'd probably be fair to say he'll be somewhere between 28 to 30. Ideally when everyone is healthy, he's at 24 but it is what it is. We have two games until Christmas and we're going to do everything we can to win those games.

 

On gauging Chabot's effectiveness throughout the game when monitoring his minutes:

As long as he doesn't look tired then he doesn't look tired. At some point he's going to get tired you would think but in saying that he's a young kid that loves playing out there. He's playing great for us not just with the puck but defensively he's playing a smart game. He looks like a guy that has been in the league for a long time and I'm really happy with how he's come around since some guys have gone down.

 

On potentially losing some offensive contributions from Chabot with his extra minutes:

Probably a little bit but in saying that one of the biggest things is that when you have guys that have been in the NHL for a long time, they know how to break out and they know how to do all the little things. That's why it takes time for young kids to get to the league and we have had the puck more in the offensive zone. Right now we've been in our zone quite a bit and that's certainly going to hamper him offensively but he'll get his points on the power play and 4-on-4 and he has the ability to jump up when he wants to. He's a team-first guy and he'll do what he has to do to help this team win.

Tweet from @Senators: Right back on the ice at @CdnTireCtr this morning for practice. pic.twitter.com/04IvWvZ05N

 

On Colin White busting out of his goal-scoring slump last night:

He's probably looked the most confident I've seen in months today in practice after scoring. The game's funny that way…sometimes you're really down and you think you don't have it and then something good happens and it just sparks you. I think he's been working hard three games in a row now and he's taken strides. I thought he started to look dangerous, he looked real dangerous today in practice so that's a good sign for us. It's the end result for him and not how we start so I think he's going in the right direction.

 

Anthony Duclair hitting 20 goals last night:

He's shooting the puck which I think is one of the big things. Duclair has always had chances but when he was on some teams that maybe were a little deeper or older, he didn't get as much opportunity. He's getting a lot of opportunity here and he's proving to be dangerous and effective. He's confident, you can just tell by the way he walks around the rink. He's not always going to give you the perfect game away from the puck but he's dangerous. I can tell you if you're the other team, you're aware when he's on the ice and he's been great for us.

 

On what Jack Capuano saw in Duclair that he thought could benefit their penalty kill:

Speed. Penalty killing has a lot to do with speed and how fast you can get on the other team so they don't have time to make plays. Can you get down ice? Can you get loose pucks? Kudos to Jack because I think that had a big impact on Duclair's confidence.

 

His thoughts on facing the Flyers tomorrow night:

Our team is going to play hard no matter what, I can tell you that. The game was a little bit chippy in Philadelphia but our team certainly never backs down to physicality. In saying that, we have to find a way to win the hockey game so we're going to play hard and we're going to play between the whistles.

 

On if he'll ask Mark Borowiecki to refrain from fisticuffs with their injuries on defence:

I don't want Boro fighting at all. Everyone in the league knows that Boro fears no one. He'll do whatever he has to for the team and this is a situation where we need him on the ice. So he's going to play hard but we absolutely don't want him fighting.

 

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