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Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 22 — Wild vs. Senators

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

4:45 PM: Get set for puck drop with the best Sens game preview in the business, courtesy of Gord Wilson and Sens TV.

4:30 PM: Today's Gameday Goodie catches up with Sens head coach Paul MacLean who earned his first NHL victory as a head coach against the Wild.

4:00 PM: Marc Methot offered his thoughts on what has plagued the Sens to this point in the season today. Here's what he had to say...

On the own-end struggles:

I'd like to think we're all committed to playing hard in our own end and wanting to get the puck out, I feel like we haven't really been helping out our goaltending much. I'm sure that'll catch up to us if we keep going at this rate. I think just committing to doing the right things to stop enough pucks entering our D-zone will help that much more. You play 45 seconds in your own end and you're too tired to establish a forecheck and that's killing us right now, too.

On last year's struggles vs. this year's:

You can't count on your goalie being your saviour every single game and I think putting that weight on their shoulders and having them have to stop 40-45 shots a game. That's unacceptable and that's not going to happen every season. We were pretty fortunate last year to have that, but it's time for us now to grow up a little bit here and mature defensively and really start playing more sound in our own end.

On flushing away the Philly game:

The good thing is we have a back-to-back, back-to-backs are huge for that if you lose a game. I know they're coming off a pretty disappointing loss too so you're going to have two pretty desperate, hungry hockey clubs and, you know, I think just being able to put it behind you now and focusing on tonight's game is a good thing.

On the team's confidence:

Losing games the way we have, it does chip away at it. It starts to break down a little bit, you start gripping the stick a little tighter. That just comes with the atmosphere in the dressing room and everything gets a little more grim and that's unavoidable when you're losing this many games. Tonight would be huge for us to get a win and start building that confidence back up. The more a team has their swagger back, that's when you start rolling and start playing good and having good games and that's something that we're missing.

On the bad starts:

It's a trend I find here on this team. I like to think that guys are ready to roll and we're warmed up and this is no different from the past teams I've played for. All teams warm up pretty much the same. Mentally maybe we're trying to make adjustments in the room and we have been changing some of the routines and stuff like that. We're trying to find an answer right now, it's just not working.

On if they need someone to light a fire under them:

Yes and no — Spezz does speak up, it's not like he's quiet in there. He's talking to us and when we need a bit of an earful he has been giving it to us. I don't think leadership is an issue at all. Every night there's always one or two guys who aren't buying in or aren't prepared, I don't know. The probliem is with a team like ours, you need everybody going and when that's not happening you're not going to win a lot of hockey games.

2:45 PM: Kyle Turris met with the media this morning to talk about last night's events and tonight's matchup with Minnesota.

1:45 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Sens and Wild...

Ottawa Senators


MacArthur - Turris - Ryan

Michalek - Spezza - Conacher

Greening - Smith - Neil

Condra - Grant - Zibanejad


Methot - Karlsson

Phillips - Borowiecki

Cowen - Wiercioch




Minnesota Wild


Parise - Koivu - Coyle

Niederreiter - Granlund - Pominville

Fontaine - Brodziak - Cooke

Mitchell - Konopka - Heatley


Suter - Brodin

Scandella - Spurgeon

Stoner - Prosser




1:30 PM: The Sens took care of some off-ice prep for the Wild tonight and after today's session, Paul MacLean met with the media to discuss tonight's game and the status of the team.

Here's what he had to say...

On the lineup:

Craig Anderson is the goaltender, Patrick Wiercioch will come in and Gryba will come out.

On what he's looking for from Wiercioch:

He's been out and he has been working on his game. Patrick is a player we have a lot of confidence in and a lot of belief in, he's a puck mover kind of a guys, that's his skill is to get the puck moving and get it headed up the ice to really help us out on the power play. But he also has a big, long reach and he's a big, long guy, now he's not the physical specimen that maybe Cowen or Gryba is but he still has reach and size to defence.

On increasing a player's physicality:

I think it would be a combination of us asking him or demanding it and doing it, and then getting some comfort level with it. I guess you can, maybe not to the level you might want them to be, but they can be more physical for sure.

On defensive responsibility on the game winner vs. Philly:

It should be all shared by everybody on the ice. It start with one faceoff that didn't get out of the zone and then it turned into some offensive zone play that the player could have been cut off on or finished on a number of occasions. At the end of it when the defence and the forward, Michalek got caught, there's a switch there that can take place there between the centreman or the defenceman that didn't take place.

On if it was a communication breakdown:

Well it's not recognizing it, not talking, not listening…As soon as they recognize it there should be some verbalization of a switch, or I got this guy, you stay that guy, but it all happens pretty quickly out there and at the end of the day we really shouldn't let somebody go unmolested to the net. So you should come off of somebody and we didn't do that either, so there was a number of times the five players on the ice plus the goaltender, we could all at some point in time say that you should have done that, you should have done that, you should have done that, so collectively as a group we didn't do a good enough job of protecting the front of our net.

On if there is a communication issue:

I think communication is an issue and execution. We put ourselves on the wrong side of the puck by turning over the puck or not making the play that's there for the puck and that makes now the defensive part of it harder because you have to work to get back on the right side of the puck and that takes time and it takes effort. So communication, talking, is a really important skill to have but the most important one that I feel we don't have going on is listening. If someone's talking and no one's listening there ain't nothing going on, the tree in the forest hyperbole or whatever…Just on the ice, communication on the ice. I think they're hearing me.

On frustration setting in:

I think there's certainly a level of frustration but we're trying to avoid that and to continue to work at our game. We've got to keep working at our game, it's not good enough yet. We've been focusing on the defensive part of it and the execution issues and those are probably the most glaring, but there are still parts of our game up the ice that would allow us not to be in our end. There's still things we have to work on, our total game, and frankly the work ethic of our group, it's not individuals, but of our whole group is something that needs to continue to get better and better and that's what we have to do on a daily basis and that's what we're asking them to do.

On if the work ethic is concerning:

Yeah, but it is what it is, all we can do is come here the next day and do it again and continue to work at it and give them the information they need and make some demands on them to be better. Keep working at it and keep working at it, that's the only way you're going to solve anything, it's not a magic formula or a magic serum, you've just got to come here and work. We're going to keep demanding that we come here and work until we get it right.

On Wiercioch being a bounce away from regaining confidence:

I think that would be the same for him and it could be the whole team. Sometimes strange things happen to turn things around, but those things don't just happen, like I said, it's not a magic formula. You have to come here and work at it and if we come here and work at it maybe it's going to happen for Patrick and it's going to happen for the team, but it's not going to happen until we collectively, as a group, decide that we're in it and we're going to do what it takes.

On if he's confident in the group:

I believe that adversity comes in a lot of ways and how you handle adversity is always whether or not you can stand the test of time as a group, as a team or as an individual. We've faced it in the past in different ways, we're facing it this year with the youth of our players, turnovers, it's a system thing, it's a work ethic thing, it's a lot of stuff and a lot of moving parts but still it's adversity. The best way to handle adversity is just to pull your boots up and strap on your hat and get out there and get working at it. We have to develop that attitude again to get here and get working at it. Our work ethic — we work hard, we're in good shape, but our work ethic is maybe not workmanlike and it's a little more skilled. The skilled workman's work ethic as opposed to just a workman's work ethic and I think we need to get back to more of that workman's work ethic and less of a skilled man's work ethic.

On the Wild:

Suter eats big minutes, they've got a good defensive group, Brodin looks like he's a good player. Parise, Koivu and Pominville appear to be playing very well in the information I've got today and the games that I've watched and the parts of the games that I've watched they're a team that works real hard and they're getting good goaltending. They're going to be a difficult opponent but, again, I think our most difficult opponent is us. We have to find a way to get over us and get on the ice and get playing.

On handling emotions as a coach:

Well the hardest thing to do is watch it, but the emotional temperature, I have to be guarded in my own temperment and how I can be. Believe it or not, I can be a little prickly at times, and I have to really guard against that type of an emotion. Frustration to me is a useless emotion and it's an energy sapping emotion and I fight myself often to not be frustrated and to be the coach. My job is to be the coach and I take a lot of pride in being the coach and that's what I try to do is to coach. Frustration is not part of that.

On handling the players' emotions:

Well we spend lots of time talking to them and seeing how they're doing. It's an ongoing process. Their emotions run just like all of ours, all of our fans, it's all the same. We can be lower than a sow's belly and then we can be high as a kite, but our talk to them is always let's try to be consistent in our preparation, let's be consistent in our emotional level and let's not get too down in the downs and let's not get too high in the highs and right now it would be nice to have a couple of highs.

On potentially breaking up Turris-MacArthur-Ryan to spark another line:

We would consider it, yes, but at this point they're a pretty consistent line for us. We've generated offence throughout our group but lately we haven't, so we're considering a number of changes to our lines. But, at the same time, consistency over time is sometimes the best thing to do, too. I fight that personally, because you all know how much I like to change lines, I love it, I change them all the time. I like to keep pairs together and move the third guy around, but sometimes when you face adversity like this the best thing to do is keep it all together and let them all go through it together and let them work their way out of it. I think that's the part of the process that we're in right now is let's stick these guys together and let's stick with it, let's stick with it, let's stick with it. Now, that could change by the first period tonight, too.

9:45 AM: The Ottawa Senators will be vying for a win tonight after a disappointing Tuesday night loss when they host the Minnesota Wild at Canadian Tire Centre.

The Sens came up short in Philadelphia last night after battling back from 2-0 down to tie the game. After a video review in the Flyers' favour, an unfavourable momentum shift sparked a resurgence from the host side who ultimately beat the Senators by a 5-2 score.

The Wild have had a quality start to their season, going 13-5-4 through 22 games. It should be noted, however, that the majority of their success has come within friendly confines as they have posted a 3-4-2 record on the road.

The Sens will meet with the media at Canadian Tire Centre this morning after team prep prior to the 7:30 PM puck drop and 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.

Stay tuned!

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