Following today's practice at Canadian Tire Centre, Sens head coach D.J. Smith met with the media to share some early line-up news for tomorrow's game against the Chicago Blackhawks, some insight on his goalies this season and more...
On Thomas Chabot leaving practice early today:
He's fine. It's more for maintenance. We expected him to skate a little bit and then get off but he'll play tomorrow.
Some early line-up notes for tomorrow's game against Chicago:
We expect to have both Zaitsev and Boro back, the forwards will be the same and Hogberg will go in net.
On Marcus Hogberg earning his current stretch of starts:
I think it starts with him in practice. He's a guy that works hard, works at it every day, he's trying to prove he's an NHL goalie and the hard part is to do it day after day. He has a big opportunity here with Nilsson going down and getting the starts he's gotten. He's certainly proved himself at the American League level, now he has to prove it up here but everything indicates that he's well on his way.
On if Craig Anderson's role has changed much this season:
For me, I'm going to put the guy in the net that I think can give us the best chance to win. That's changed throughout the year, there's times where it's been Nilsson, there's times where it's been Andy and right now we're riding Hogberg. The guy who's playing the best is the guy who gets to go in and play so I don't know if his role has changed, he'll get his chance again and he'll do what he can do. He's still a good goalie in the National Hockey League but part of it too is that we want to see these young guys play, we want to see Hogberg play and we want to give him an opportunity.
An update on Anders Nilsson's recovery:
I didn't get an update on him today but he's skating and doing better. At this point, we won't see him before the break. We'll give him enough time, we want to see him at 100%.
On Artem Anisimov's play recently:
I thought he was really good the last little bit and he's found ways to score. He's an older guy so on back-to-backs he's maybe not as good but he's still smart and he still makes a couple of plays a game. He's playing his ex-team where he had a lot of good years so I imagine he'll be ready to go tomorrow night. He's a consummate professional, whether he plays 12 or 13 minutes or 17 minutes…he doesn't complain and he goes to work every day. It's unfortunate that he got injured early because he kind of fell out of his groove but I think he's done a nice job of late.
Video: OTT@WSH: Anisimov roofs wrist shot from left circle
His thoughts on the forward line combination of Anisimov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Rudolfs Balcers:
Their shot attempts are way up and I thought they had a few chances at the end of that Detroit game. They'll get another chance to go here tomorrow and I think Vladdy worked really hard in practice and he's done a real nice job on the penalty kill. I'd like to see that line get going and get us some goals.
On Nikita Zaitsev returning a little bit ahead of his most recent timeline:
I wasn't sure but then he had a couple of really good days. He felt really good on the ice and then he practiced and then he practiced again today. He's fine so we wanted to get him in before the All-Star break to get him back playing. I'm sure there will be some rust there but I think if you look at the goals against we've given up since Zaitsev's been out of the line-up and what we give up when he's in the line-up…it's a significant difference.