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Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 43 — Jets vs. Senators

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

5:15 PM: Get set for puck drop with Gord Wilson and Sens TV...

5:00 PM: Today's Gameday Goodie talks to Mark Stone about his NHL season debut tonight. Take a look...

4:00 PM: Bobby Ryan fielded plenty of questions about his absence from Team USA's Sochi roster today. Here's what he had to say...

On not being named to Team USA:

Disappointment, you know, ultimately they decided to go a different direction so I guess as a player you have to respect that. At the same time I thought I had played well enough to earn a spot but you can't change it now.

On how he found out:

My phone rang during the announcement and it was an area code I hadn't seen before so I think that was Burkie trying to get a hold of me to let me know but I found out live (watching TV) as well.

On the support for him:

There was an overwhelming support, whatever you want to call it, a group of texts, tweets, whatever it may have been and for a guy (Mike Modano) like that who I looked up to as an American player to say that and reach out however it was meant a lot. Obviously he was a player I looked up to, wearing number nine and all that kind of stuff, it all ties in but it was nice for him to say something like that.

On if he has spoken to USA Hockey:

No, I think that's probably why Burkie was reaching out. It was a Calgary number which I didn't recognize and I got a text from him later to give him a call back but I didn't last night. I tried to stay away from it last night as much as I can. I'm sure there will be some feedback at some point but there wasn't much to say yesterday from my end, I just wanted to let it sink in and have a day before I reacted in case you say something you don't want to say.

On the criticisms of his game in a story:

That comes from — obviously they sat in on the meetings with the braintrust and they were direct quotes so it's unfortunate that they feel that way, but that's their opinions and they've got to field a team. I guess to a certain degree you have to respect it, you don't have to agree with it. I certainly don't but you could have just cut me. You almost feel degraded when it comes out like that but it is what it is. That's their decision and that's how they feel about me and I'll remember it and use it as motivation. That's all you can really do.

On using the cut as motivation:

I think so, yeah, that's kind of that adage, it moves you forward and makes you want to prove them wrong. This was something that I was prepared for and I spent the first half trying to prove them wrong. I felt like I was the odd man out even this summer in my conversations with them. I did my best and I thought I took a pretty good run at it but ultimately fell short. That's what I'll try to do now is try and do it over again in the second half.

On if there were conversations to help him work his way in:

Not really, no. I feel bad for them because you have to put a team together out of players that are doing their respective roles for their teams. My role here is to be an offensive threat and help this team win games by scoring goals. It would be hard on them to go and say we want you to go and be an energy guy for the Ottawa Senators and do some running around, which I knew my role kind of would be going into that tournament. I was more focused on the task at hand here like any player is playing for their team. There wasn't any kind of dialogue on what they wanted, that would be hard for them to do and I understand that. I just thought if you put up the points and offensively do what you need to do then maybe it'll be there and it wasn't.

On 2010 teammates reaching out:

None of the guys that are going back, Jack Johnson and Erik Johnson were the only guys I talked to and they felt the same way I think to the same degree. That's about it, those were the only guys that reached out for me right away.

On his 2010 linemates:

We had the four guy rotation with Cally (Ryan Callahan), Backes and Chris Drury. We were kind of the energy line as well. I moved up and down throughout the lineup a little bit in a couple of games but those were the guys I was on the ice with most of the time.

On the spelling intensity remark:

I could probably get by. That was pretty gutless almost to say about a player, but that's Burkie's opinion. We've always had a good relationship. I haven't talked to him, I'm probably not going to reach out to him or send him a Christmas card but it is what it is, it's the way he feels so I can't say anything about it.

On if he had heard the intensity criticism before:

Over the last couple of years I hadn't heard it much, Burkie said it to me or stressed it to me when I was young and 18 and 19 that I needed to instill better work ethic. That was probably just because I was a little pudgy 18 year old who never worked out. That's kind of where I took that at the time and I thought I had changed that around and at least thought I had changed it around in his eyes but apparently not.

On the Carlyle/Burke influence on him in Anaheim:

Randy and I just didn't see eye-to-eye on things, that was different, but I truly believe that Randy had the best interests for me as an individual and for the team. Burkie I had a different relationship with as the general manager, the guy that drafted you, the guy that kind of stood behind you and helped you get into the league and did a lot right by you. I thought he thought more of me as a player than that, truthfully.

3:30 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Sens and Jets.

Ottawa Senators


Michalek - Zibanejad - Conacher

MacArthur - Turris - Ryan

Greening - Smith - Stone

Kassian - Pageau - Condra


Cowen - Karlsson

Methot - Ceci

Phillips - Corvo




Winnipeg Jets


Ladd - Little - Wheeler

Kane - Scheifele - Frolik

Thorburn - Jokinen - Setoguchi

Tangradi - Wright - Peluso


Byfuglien - Ellerby

Trouba - Enstrom

Stuart - Bogosian




2:45 PM: Jason Spezza spoke with the media for the first time since checking out of the lineup with an injury. Here's what he had to say on his status...

2:00 PM: Here's what Paul MacLean had to say ahead of today's game with the Jets...

On tonight's lineup:

Chris Phillips will come in to the lineup and Patrick Wiercioch will come out. Stone is in for Chris Neil.

On Ryan being left off of Team USA:

I know that any time you pick a team like they're picking an Olympic team, somebody always gets left out, good players aways get left out. There's only so many spots. We're disappointed as much as Bobby's disappointed that he's not going. As far as the commentary that's out there, people's opinions are their opinions. We don't necessarily agree with them.

On Spezza's recovery:

We're going to make sure he's 100 per cent for sure. He skated today, it was the first time he was an actual participant in practice so we'll take today as a good day, see what he does tomorrow and we'll just move forward. The days he has got to skate some and we want to make sure he's 100 per cent before he goes back.

On the Jets:

They play with speed, they've been playing very well, their goalie has been good. From what I've seen their defence has played very well for them and their best players are their best players. We expect a very difficult task tonight and we expect it to go up and down the rink pretty fast.

On if he wants more or less players at an Olympics:

I think that's a little bit of both, if they're all there you've got a pretty good team. If none of them are there where are you in the league? For us, we're happy for anyone in our organization that gets to go to the Olympic games, I think it's a tremendous experience having been there and if you have the opportunity you should take advantage of it and go. If you don't, you don't, but enjoy the rest and enjoy the time off that gives you and make sure we're back ready to finish the season after the Olympic break. We don't pick who goes and who stays, we just take it after they get picked and go from there.

On the team's play of late:

We believe we're improving. Much of December I think was a better month for us than November was. We believe we're finding our way, our identity and how we have to play and finding our game. But, we've won two in a row only one other time and that was back in November. We're not ready to plan any parade routes or dictate anything other than what we are. We're still a team that's working very hard to find itself and be consistent on a nightly basis. Tonight's the next opportunity and we look forward to that.

10:00 AM: It's game day in Ottawa today and the Senators will try to make it three in a row tonight when they take on the Winnipeg Jets.

The Sens are returning to action after an entertaining 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Monday night. Goals from Mika Zibanejad, Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur provided the offence while Craig Anderson stopped 34 shots to seal the deal for the Sens who have won their last three at home.

The Jets have struggled to make up ground in a very difficult Central Division after their move to the West this season. Through 42 games they have put together a record of 19-18-5 — good for 43 points — which lands them second from the back in the Central. On Tuesday they defeated the Buffalo Sabres by a 3-0 score.

The Sens will hit the ice for their morning skate at 10:15 today 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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