Senators head coach Paul MacLean spoke to the media after Monday's morning skate before the club plays a pair of exhibition games against the Isles in St. John's. Here's what he had to say on the day...
On the expectations going into the games:
We want to see the competition level of our team, we want to see the defensive play of our team continue to improve and get better with things we're working at. It is training camp and we want to see people and identify and evaluate people. Yesterday was like going to the practice tee and getting warmed up in the red and white game. We can overlook and over-evaluate yesterday's performance, but the evaluation of the players' performance in earnest begins today. The expectation is your competition level is going to be high and we're going to be hard to play against.
On Bobby Ryan skating today:
That's what we anticipated is that everything would be fine with him but at the same time we have to be careful. It's the first day of training camp so we want to err on the side of caution just to make sure. He showed up today with no symptoms and he's out there practicing so that's good.
On the goaltending plan today:
We have Andrew Hammond playing the game this afternoon and then Craig Anderson will start the game tonight and Robin Lehner will finish it.
On Marc Methot:
He's not out there tonight but he's out there practicing... Basically some of the skating leading up to training camp he wasn't involved in so we want to make sure he gets another good practice to get ready to play in one of the games against Toronto.
On pairing Claesson and Karlsson:
In deciding not to play Marc we felt we have three other guys in the group — Claesson, Borowiecki and Harpur — and all three are going to end up playing with Erik at some point tonight as the game goes along. In saying that those are three young players that are going to get an opportunity to play with Erik and get some of the jitters out. Gryba and Mullen are in the lineup tonight as well so it's an opportunity for three young guys to show the type of consistency they had, especially Claesson. In the American Hockey League he was a plus-40 something, one of the highest in the league. He can obviously play and we want to give him an opportunity to show what he can do. We think Ben Harpur has played well and Boro wants to show us what he can do too.
On the scratches:
We brought 52 guys and we can only play 40 so there are 12 guys who aren't playing.
On Lazar getting an opportunity on the wing:
We're going to keep playing him and see how he does. If he has to move to the wing we'll move him to the wing, but at this point in time he's a centre.
On seeing young players in game situations against NHLers:
For these young guys this is a great opportunity for them to actually play with National Hockey League players and against National Hockey League players. It's a good test for them to see where they are for themselves. It's good for us to evaluate them and see how they do but the biggest thing is for the player — Ben Harpur, Curtis — they can evaluate themselves with the guys that play on our team and against the guys on the Islanders. Where do I fit in? Can I do this? Am I going to be able to do this? What do I need to do? A lot of questions for young players get answered in these types of games and we're just there evaluating them. The biggest thing any player gets out of it is his own reward from the game is what he finds out about himself.