The Sens took another step towards finalizing their regular season roster on Sunday as the players at camp were separated into two groups, one coached by Paul MacLean and the other coached by Luke Richardson. The former will be the group from which the NHL roster is drawn while the latter will form the core of the Binghamton Senators.
Here's what Paul MacLean had to say after his first session with the NHL group...
On today's practice with the NHL group:
I enjoyed the practice today, I thought it had a real good tempo and a good competition level like we expected it to be and now we've got to keep going, keep doing it harder and harder every day. We're very pleased with the effort we had today and we expect more tomorrow.
On Cody Ceci:
Well we want him to continue to show us how he plays and what type of player he is. I think we have a pretty good idea of what he can do. We want to see him continue to work at that — he's got a good ability to skate and we'd like to see him do that offensively and defensively to use his skating ability, he shoots the puck well — so we just want to see him continue to work at showing us the type of player he is and what he's capable of.
On Mark Borowiecki:
Boro's been a little bit more of a known quantity since he's been here for two or three years. We know what Boro brings to our team and we like what he brings to our team. He brings physicality, he brings competition level. His execution level is getting better and better and he's getting very close.
On Eric Gryba's injury opening a spot:
I'm not going to say that but I know that one man's injury is another man's opportunity and that hasn't changed since the start of organized sports. If somebody is out, somebody has to take his place and that's an opportunity for somebody:
I think he's close, he's practicing now. We're going to be very careful with him, he's only an 18 year old kid so we want to make sure he's fully 100 per cent healthy and ready to go before we get him out there... he practiced with Jason Smith, he skated beforehand.
On if today's lines are important:
No, not really. I think we'll be changing some of the lines tomorrow to give opportunity to see if there's some chemistry with some other people but nothing is set in stone — nothing is ever really set in stone with me anyways. Right now that's what we had for today.
On the bubble players:
Well we're going to try to give — we want to give ourselves the opportunity too see everybody be able to show their best. I think that's our job here at training camp is to make sure that every player, whether they stay here or leave here, can say 'Well, I had every opportunity to show what I was capable of doing. I played with the right people, I played in the right role and I did things.' That's what we strive to do when we put the lineups together and the combinations together is to give people the opportunity to show us what kind of player they are so we're going to continue to do that.
On if Da Costa looks better this year:
He does, for sure. I think he's fitter, as a result his competition level is higher, his strength and his skating ability are good and his vision with the puck has never been questioned. I think that he's just stronger and, as a result, quicker so he's able to compete at a higher level. He's very close.
On the second line:
What we're first looking for is the chemistry of someone that kind fan one another easier. If it gets beyond that then we start looking at the components of the line where, is someone going to be the shooter? Is someone going to be the one that drives the net? Is someone going to do the dirty work on the line, whether it's in the opponents zone or on the back check? We have a lot of different types of players that add all of those things and at some point we make a decision as to who it is. Maybe it'll be someone who rotates through too. In the past I've been a believer that if two guys can get chemistry the third guy can always change depending on circumstance. We'd like to get something going but if we don't we're prepared to keep going along, moving people in and out.
That's what we're working on. They haven't been apart at all but the third guy has changed a lot and, with the Spezza line, Jason and Milo have played together for a long time and now we're trying to see if we can fit Bobby into that group. Right now we're pleased with how it's going but we're also prepared to make changes if we need to.
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