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MacLean after Saturday's practice

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

The Sens had their first practice since Thursday night's game in Montreal today as we inch closer to the finalization of the NHL roster. Paul MacLean met with the media after the on-ice session as they gear up for Sunday's split squad tilts with the Islanders.

Here's what Coach had to say...

On Jason Spezza:

Jason Spezza has a minor groin injury that we are managing to get him to October 4 and be ready to play. At this point that's what we're doing and we're just making sure that he's ready to play the opener which is way more important than any exhibition game.

On if he will play Sunday:

No, right now he's not going to play because we want to make sure he's 100 per cent. He's very close. Could he play tomorrow? Absolutely, he could have played the last two or three games. We just feel there's no reason to have anybody, any of our players, have something that could turn into a problem and have them play just because it's an exhibition game. We're just making sure he's ready for the opener.

On Jim O'Brien:

Jim O'Brien, I think he's a casualty of the Ottawa Senators doing a good job at the draft table and doing a good job of developing players where players that have come after him and have developed end up being better players. That's what it is. I'm not sure it's more than that, players have just come on and gotten better and that's the evolution of a team. At some point in time in order for newer players to play on the team somebody doesn't play on the team. That's an unfortunate part of the business, but it's part of the business of hockey.

On Eric Gryba:

Yes (he's healthy), he'll play tomorrow.

On Stephane Da Costa:

I think that Stephane has come in and played this training camp. Over the three years that he's been here and I've been here we've asked him to make changes to his game to give him a chance to play at the NHL level and he has done that. As a credit to him he has done those things and made those changes and shows that he can play in the league and be competitive. Right now there's an opportunity for him because we're holding Spezza out but at the same time he's getting an opportunity to play with good players and showing that he can play with them and that gives us a lot of confidence in him going into the season. If he ends up being on our team he can play, we believe now he can play in the NHL at any position whether it's in a top six role or a bottom six, he can come in and help our team.... We've asked him to have a better fitness level, a better competition level and play better defensively and he's done all of those things. If people are doing things you ask them to do I think you have to acknowledge that and then give them an opportunity to show you that they can do it. To his credit, he has done those things, made those changes and he's making it difficult for us to make decisions which is what we like.

On if Da Costa is the surprise of camp:

Well, part of them, yeah he would be one of them. For me I never saw Michael Sdao play or Buddy Robinson play so those guys to me, I was excited to see them play and they were surprises because you didn't know what they were. For Stephane it was good to see he took direction and brought it, but no we expected him to come in and be ready to compete for a job so it didn't surprise me.

On the roster trim:

We'll be making probably multiple moves after the game tomorrow and leading into Monday morning.

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