Every house starts with a foundation.
And the Ottawa Senators see some positives to build upon, even in the wake of Tuesday's 1-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings at Scotiabank Place. While they were blanked by the same score for the second time in three games, the frustration level wasn't nearly the same as it was in Columbus last Friday.
"We created twice as many chances as we've had in previous games," centre Jason Spezza
said after the team's practice at Scotiabank Place earlier today. "So we're getting there. We're getting the chances, now we're just got to put them into the net. We want to preach a little more of an offensive style and a more aggressive style."
Sounds like exactly what new head coach Cory Clouston had in mind when he took the reins on Monday. While he would have liked a win in his National Hockey League coaching debut, Clouston saw enough things to build upon as the Senators point toward Thursday's matchup with the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins at Scotiabank Place (7 p.m., TSN, Team 1200).
"We created a lot of turnovers. We had a lot of scoring chances off turnovers," he said. "We just went over the video from the first two periods and we probably created 20 turnovers in the neutral zone alone. I talked to some of the forwards and they said they probably had the puck more off turnovers (Tuesday night) than they'd had in the previous four or five games.
"They just weren't ready to mount the attack, it was all so new to them. The D-men were more aggressive and we had a lot more hits in the neutral zone because they had the support from the forwards. At least it's something they can build on."
It also has the Senators believing better things – not to mention goals – just might be around the corner, as long as they collectively buy into the program Clouston is selling.
"When someone comes in and gets an opportunity like Cory, we've got to try to rally around his ideas as quickly as possible," said captain Daniel Alfredsson
. "I think you're going to see a more aggressive style from us. We're going to be more aggressive on the forecheck, which I think will draw a little bit more emotion from us in our play."
Clouston knows overcoming the mental block created by a 17-25-7 start is a big part of the challenge facing him and his team.
"We created twice as many chances as we've had in previous games. So we're getting there. We're getting the chances, now we're just got to put them into the net. We want to preach a little more of an offensive style and a more aggressive style." - Jason Spezza
"I just think that sometimes, they're expecting the worst," he said of his players. "Sometimes, when something doesn't go right for them, they're just looking around the corner and saying 'what's next?' The poor me syndrome, almost, and that's one of the things that has to be changed.
"No one's going to do it but them and I believe they understand that. But sometimes, it's different when things happen and in the heat of the moment, they miss an open net. All of a sudden, you can start to feel the bench shrink a little bit."
Even though the gap between the 13th-place Senators and a playoff berth has grown to 15 points, centre Mike Fisher insisted there is still no quit in the dressing room.
"We're not going to accept losing," he said. "It's not fun, there's no question. It's a lot more fun winning and that's what we're all here to do. We know our chances are very slim of making the playoffs but at the same time, we've got to become a team and work on some things. Make sure we're all giving everything we've got and make a run down the stretch."Around the boards
The Senators have returned centre Peter Regin
to their American Hockey League affiliate in Binghamton, N.Y. , while right-winger Ryan Shannon has been recalled ... Defenceman Alex Picard (upper body) is "doubtful, probably, for the weekend," he added ... Forward Shean Donovan didn't skate with the team today and his status remains unchanged ... Fewer than 3,000 tickets remain for Thursday's game.