Sens head coach D.J. Smith spoke with the media after today's practice at Canadian Tire Centre as his squad gets set to close out their 3-game home stand tomorrow night against the Sharks.
An update on his line-up tomorrow against San Jose:
We're going to make that decision in the morning. Right now, the defence will be the same, Anderson is going to go in net and we're going to make the decision up front tomorrow morning.
Some of the takeaways from last night's game as they prep to host the Sharks:
For the most part, our team plays hard all the time. I even thought we played hard in the first period but we couldn't stop their speed. Leddy went right by us two or three times so it's not lack of effort. We got stuck out there and our 4th line got scored on, Leddy skates by everyone and finds a way to score. I don't think it was a lack of effort though, I just thought maybe we weren't as smart in the first period but you could see the desperation and effort in the second and the third period. I think tomorrow that guys will certainly be fired up. This is a team that has some high-end names, certainly with Erik (Karlsson) coming back here, Joe Thornton, Marleau and there's some big names out there. You'd be crazy if you weren't ready for this game.
On putting together a 60-minute game:
It's no different than me holding the players accountable, it's them holding themselves accountable. In order for us to win, we can't take shifts off. We're at a stage where we're in a rebuild, we're going with a young group of players and this is a league that veterans and guys that have been around a long time tend to make all the plays and play all the minutes. We can't afford to come out and take shifts off and give the other team extra opportunities. We have to be tighter defensively and I thought we've done a really nice job actually on our home stand in our own zone, we just gave up too many odd-man rushes yesterday. We'll be ready to play tomorrow and I suspect the guys are going to be hungry.
On Thomas Chabot's possession game recently:
He's by far our best offensive player and as a team we were over 5 minutes in the offensive zone again last night and held them to 4 minutes. Some would say it's "losing hockey" too because when you're trailing you tend to step on the gas. Kind of like in football when the other team goes to a prevent defence so you have to be careful with those stats but in saying that, he makes special things happen out there and over time his defensive game is going to get better. He's going to be a really good player for a long time.
On Chabot playing over 30 minutes last night:
When you're down a goal, Chabot is significantly more offensive than anyone else we have back there so you get caught putting him out all the time on the power play and then he's back out there at 5-on-5. The other night when we won 5-2, you see at the end of the game you've got Hainsey, Zaitsev, Borowiecki and DeMelo out there because their different players when you're holding the lead. When we're down, he's going to play a lot more and when we're up, he won't play quite as much and those other defenders will do what they're good at.
How last night's chippy/physical game against the Islanders can benefit his young team:
These guys stick together. One of their players comes over to our bench and starts yapping at our guys and our guys didn't take it…they pushed back. All year I've seen them stand together. We'd like to have more wins than we do but in saying that I see a lot of good things. I see the work ethic in practice, I see the mindset changing in games and it will change in time. I know we stress patience but I'm happy how hard these guys work. We want to win more games but I think a lot of guys have come a long way in the way that they approach the game as pros.