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MacLean ahead of pre-season game 5

by Chris Lund / Ottawa Senators

The Sens are back in Ottawa tonight to host the Montreal Canadiens after last night's 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The game this evening is the second last at home for the Sens this pre-season as they stand to host one more on September 29 against the Islanders.

Here's what Coach MacLean had to say about tonight's game...

On if the Montreal rivalry has Battle of Ontario potential:

I think it has the possibility of it, yes. Any time that you play a team in the playoffs or have a heated playoff series it has the potential for a rivalry to develop and I think that's healthy for both teams and the league.

On tonight's roster:

Spezza, no. He has general training camp issues and we're just making sure we're managing it. It's nothing that — could he play? Yes, but he's not going to. We're going to make sure that with two games left to play that we play people at the right time. Same thing with Craig Anderson, we're just managing it to make sure we're ready for October 4.

On tonight's goaltender:

Lawson, yes (he will play a full 60).

On competition bringing out the best:

I think that's a lot of the way it gets decided is, a lot of the times the players make the decisions for us as long as we're paying attention so it's just important to be paying attention all the time. Who continues to compete, who plays consistently and competes, who handles different situations and all of those scenarios go into who we decide makes the team. I think competition is a healthy thing and competition makes you better. Mostly the competition from within your own group, that's the kind of competition that really makes you better.

On J-G Pageau:

He has been a big part of it (the competition) as well. The way that he played coming up last season and through the playoffs, and the way that he's gone through development camp, rookie camp and into this training camp, his competition level has been very high, his play has been consistently very high challenging to make a case for himself to be on the team and that brings everybody else that's trying to do the same thing up. I think that's been big in Cory Conacher's play, in Mark Stone's play, Mike Hoffman's play, all of the guys that have been here competing for jobs have done a real good job of raising our competition level.

On if Pageau is an NHLer or a rookie:

I think we see both. Lots of times we see a guy that plays real well in the NHL and there's other times he's a young player. To his credit he has been a very consistent player and to be an NHL player, consistency is the hardest thing for you to find but it's also the most important thing for you to find because that is kind of what defines the NHL player is how high a level you can get to and how consistent a level you can stay there. That's the fight we have with every play and Pageau, since he's come up last year, has been a very consistent player. He has done a good job of getting himself ready and showing that he wants to play.

On Da Costa between Ryan and Michalek:

Well the fact that Jason is not going to play, that's the first indication. The second part would be Stephane has played very well, he's a distributor of the puck, his fitness level, his ability to skate and compete, I think he has shown in the games he has played that has been upgraded a lot. We're trying to put him in a position that's going to help him succeed and help him show us who he is and what he is. He's a play making guy, he plays with Ryan and Michalek we'll see what type of opportunity or production that brings for him. We're putting him there to give him the opportunity to show us that "this is what I can do."

On contract status affecting the roster:

I think there's a number of guys with contract status and we can only keep 23 that fall into that category, he would be one of them, but we're going to try and keep the 23 best players as best we can.

On if Anderson's absence is ankle related:

It's not that, no. It's just some small soreness and we're just trying to be smart about it. We have back-to-back games here, he has the opportunity to play a game tomorrow and still get two games in which we feel would be sufficient to get ready. I mean, he got ready last year on the 19th and didn't play any games so we feel as a veteran guy he can come in and play and not have an issue... It just developed over training camp much like all the players have and we're just not going to put him in a spot to make it worse.

Here is Coach MacLean's availability courtesy of Sens TV:

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