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From the coach: Jan. 15th, 2020

by Craig Medaglia @craigmedaglia / Ottawa Senators

Sens head coach D.J. Smith met with the media following today's practice at Canadian Tire Centre and shared his thoughts on facing the Golden Knights tomorrow, life as a coach in the NHL and more...

On Anthony Duclair leaving practice early today:

It was more precautionary. He got new skates and there was some discomfort so we're assuming he's going to play tomorrow.


On Duclair's recent mini-offensive slump:

I think athletes are tough people and sometimes maybe that's a nagging injury but I think every player in this league has nagging injuries at this point. I just think that you run through these spurts, he had a real good chance last night and Lehner made a heck of a save. You just need one to go in and a guy like Duclair is streaky…one goes in and he gets a bunch.


His thoughts on tomorrow's line-up against the Golden Knights:

We're going to evaluate that as a coaching staff but we're thinking of putting Sabourin in. It's just a matter of health and making sure everyone is healthy so we'll wait on Duclair but we'd like to get Sabourin in.

Tweet from @Senators: Practice at @CdnTireCtr this morning. Nice to see @Cwolanin20 back out with the team in a non-contact jersey too. 🙌


On Vegas making a coaching change today:

Whether it was the coaching change or not, on paper when you look at this team they're as good as anyone in the league. Their top two lines has as much firepower as…I can't think of another team in the league that has this much firepower. They haven't won of late but in saying that, it's unfortunate. Gerard Gallant is a great coach and was let go today, he'll certainly land on his feet but they got another good coach in Pete DeBoer that I'm sure will get these guys sparked and they'll be ready to go.


On the volatility of coaching in the NHL:

All you can do is do your best in whatever the job is. This is a tough can be replaced tomorrow so like in anything with life you have to live everyday like it could be your last. You just have to coach to the best of your abilities and make as many people and players better. If your time is up, then your time is up…you move on and go to another place.


On the tough task of hosting the Golden Knights tomorrow:

We played these guys really hard in Vegas and it's going to be an emotional game with Stone coming back here. I think that we'll certainly be in the game, we play some of the best teams in the league real hard. We're going to have to limit their chances and get back at it. We're usually a pretty good forechecking team, physical-wise, but I don't think we got in against their defence very well last night. That's something we're going to have to do to create some turnovers so we're certainly going to have to come out with some jam and then be able to sustain it. We're going to need everyone.


On last night's game against Chicago and what "playing a full 60 minutes" means:

I think it was probably a little bit more mental yesterday than anything else. We're 46 games into the season now and I think our team has 1 out of 15 games where we aren't working at our best ability. After watching the tape, we weren't working smart as much as it was effort-wise. We didn't have our second guy in on the forecheck, we didn't create any turnovers, we let them skate through the neutral zone way too much but after re-watching the tape I thought that was the best our defence has looked in a month. We broke the puck out better than we have in a long time, I thought the partners did a nice job limiting their chances but at the end of the day Kane, Toews and Kubalik did a real nice job and they beat us.
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