4:45 PM: Gord Wilson gets you set for tonight's home opener with the best Sens game preview in the business.
4:15 PM: You've become accustomed to the Gameday Goodie around these parts, but the special occasion that is a home opener merits a special Gameday Goodie. Today Laurie Boschman is the focus of our Gameday Goodie as he recalls the first ever Sens home opener as the first ever captain in modern day Sens history.
Take a look...
3:30 PM: Jason Spezza met with the media after today's morning skate. Here's what he had to say ahead of tonight's game where he will be introduced as captain for the first time.
2:30 PM: Sens head coach Paul MacLean had his standard media availability before tonight's home opener. Here's what he had to say...
On tonight's starting goaltender:
On other lineup changes:
It's the same lineup that we played in Phoenix.
On instructing the players on time zone adjustment:
We didn't say anything specific, nothing specific. Everybody has kept their own schedule how they do things.
On if the home opener excitement will help the transition:
I think it's going to be — yeah, I think that the excitement of playing at home, we've played six times on the road already and to come home and play for the first time, I think that should give us some energy if we feel we're lacking because of the first game after a long road trip historically isn't always your best effort. We're thinking tonight that being the home opener will give us some energy and get us going.
I felt that they were dangerous as soon as we put them together. In the Anaheim game they were dangerous and I thought they were very dangerous against Phoenix. I felt that Spezza's line with Conacher on it, they were dangerous. Suddenly we were a dangerous team with our top lines being a threat to them all the time so it was pretty easy.
On if Spezza/Ryan lacked a spark:
I think it has more to do with the fact that when we switched the two guys we became a much more dangerous team is what it was. A lot of times we keep the twosomes together and Spezza and Michalek have been a twosome since I've been here and we've changed the third guy a lot. Since training camp MacArthur and Turris have been a twosome and we've changed the third guy with them a lot. Basically we're still doing the same thing just with Bobby and Conacher. If it makes the team more dangerous for right now, that's what we'll do and if it becomes that we're not dangerous anymore we'll make other adjustments. Maybe we put them back together and something else happens down the road.
On pairing players together:
There is a chemistry that gets between players, lots of times it between two guys and not always the three guys. Historically for me anyway I played really good with Dale Hawerchuk, if I played with someone else I wasn't quite as good a player and maybe he wasn't quite as good a player. Some players just get along together and they know where each other are on the ice all the time and they can just play together.
On if there can still be chemistry between the two:
I think there's a chance of it down the road. They come apart, they come back together again. I mean, for me right now the chemistry between Michalek and Spezza is important. They got three goals, they scored three goals in the game the other night in Phoenix. To me that's enough to keep them together or keep them apart or however you want to say it. As long as our team is more dangerous to score goals that's what we're going to go with.
On Cory Conacher:
I thought he was fine, he went to the net, he was at the net for two or three goals. He was competitive so I think he was part of making that line dangerous too. I think right now if we're more dangerous that's what we're looking for.
On cutting down the shots against:
Well we've got to win faceoffs first of all so we have the puck more, and we have to get it in areas where we can establish more of a forecheck game of our own. The structure of our game needs to be better. We just flat out need to play better in our own zone, but it all starts with winning the faceoff.
On improving zone exits:
Well we can pass the puck better, which is a big part of it. When you put it on someone's stick it's way easier to play than if it's in his feet. Execution is a big part of it, working hard to get open is a big part of it. If we do all of those things we'll be better.
On if there is a trap playing a team with New Jersey's record:
Well I try not to look at the other team, I've got enough concerns of my own…I hope not. They (the players) should look at this as a home game, our home opener, so that should be more of a priority than what the Devils record is.
12:45 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Sens and Devils...
Michalek - Spezza - Conacher
MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Greening - Smith - Neil
Kassian - Pageau - Condra
Karlsson - Methot
Cowen - Wiercioch
Phillips - Gryba
New Jersey Devils
Elias - Henrique - Jagr
Tedenby - Zajac - Ryder
Zubrus - Loktionov - Brunner
Carter - Gionta - Bernier.
Greene - Larsson
Salvador - Zidlicky
Volchenkov - Harrold
9:30 AM: It's here and we like it.
That's right, everyone. After two weeks, six road games and a lot of staying up into the wee hours here in the Eastern time zone, the Ottawa Senators finally break the lock on Canadian Tire Centre and their 2013-14 home schedule. Celebrate with your hands in the air, waiting for confetti to rain.
The Sens host the New Jersey Devils tonight and the visitors have struggled to start their season. The Devils are 0-3-3 to start the year, including an 0-3-2 mark on the road. As things stand they are the only team in the NHL that has yet to win a game. Martin Brodeur will get the start in goal for them tonight.
The Sens will hit the ice at 10 AM for their skate at Canadian Tire Centre. I'll have plenty of updates to follow including, but not limited to, lineup changes, players thoughts on tonight's game, Sens TV updates, Instagram goodness and more.
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