Before shipping off to Washington to start their 2-game road trip against the Capitals tomorrow night, Sens head coach D.J. Smith met with the media at Canadian Tire Centre and provided some injury updates and touched on the recent play of Drake Batherson, Brady Tkachuk and Jean-Gabriel Pageau.
A few injury updates before facing the Capitals tomorrow:
I haven't talked to the trainers yet but I'm real hopeful on DeMelo. I think Duclair looked good out there so it looks like he'll go but I'm not 100%. I'd say questionable on Hainsey and Zaitsev's a no.
On Drake Batherson's performance in his first game back since being recalled from Belleville:
I thought he really improved his pace since he left. We asked him to go down there and prove that and the coaches did a nice job with him. Sometimes guys look at it like a demotion but in the American League you can work out every day during the week because they don't have games so it's a lot more time to get strong and fast and he used that time and got bigger and stronger.
On the plan for Batherson moving forward:
We think he can be a player. We're not going to put anyone in a spot if they aren't going to play a lot. Right now if I can continue to get him minutes, he'll stay up here but it's been one game and he needs to continue to get better.
On facing the league's top team tomorrow in Washington:
They're the best team record-wise and probably the biggest team. Coming off a Stanley Cup two years ago, they're still a hungry team and it's good for us. We're at the start of our plan and they're either in the middle or near the end of their run so they're at the height of their game and we're going to measure ourselves against them.
On Brady Tkachuk's play mid-way through his sophomore season:
He's ahead of the goal pace he had last year and certainly last year he had some opportunities to play with Stone and Duchene. This year he's doing a lot of it with other young guys and it's a big difference. If you watch a guy like Stone play, he's an accomplished player and an elite player in this league but now Brady is doing a lot of it with Pageau, Brown and guys like that. He's a physical presence every night and he continues to get better.
On Jean-Gabriel Pageau's offensive uptick this season:
He gets everything off of defence. He outworks you defensively and he jumps on pucks. I think sometimes it's backwards and people think that they have to cheat for offence or get on the wrong side of it and hope for a lucky bounce if they're going to score. That's not how it works. You outwork people, you steal the puck from them then you're in a spot where they aren't prepared to defend and that's what he's doing. I think a lot of guys can learn from that.
Video: Jan. 6 | DeMelo and Batherson