Senators head coach Paul MacLean met with the media on day two of Senators training camp before the team flies to Newfoundland. Here's what he had to say...
On if he's pleased with what he has seen through testing:
I think yeah, the only fortunate thing that came from our season last year was the opportunity for us to really get to the gym early and upgrade the fitness level of our team. The vast majority of our players have done that and that's a good sign for us that we took advantage of the time we had and feel good about it.
On using fitness as a means of outworking opponents:
If you plan to play a long time in this league your fitness level has to be as high as it can be. That's an important part of anyone lasting through the 82 game schedule. It keeps you away from injury if you have a high fitness level and also you can last longer in games and put games away late in the game. The biggest thing that the fitness level allows us to do is stay away from injury.
On leadership by committee:
At some point in time there will be a captain. Whether that will be at the end of training camp or whenever we make that decision, there's going to be another captain of the Ottawa Senators. There's at least six guys you could name off who could wear the captain's C, we just have to find the one that's the right one for us. The leadership group that's there and the core of the team, we feel the leadership is going to be there.
On Turris playing a first line role:
If Kyle comes in and plays the way he did last year, we're going to be real happy about it. You could call him one, two, three, four, it doesn't matter to me. We're going to play four lines and we're going to get them on the ice. If Kyle comes in and does what he's capable of doing we're going to be happy about that.
On the lack of practice time before games:
For us we have five games in four days if you count the Red and White game so it's a great opportunity for us to evaluate all of the players in our organization and get a good handle on them in ranking them and seeing where they all fit in with the group. We're looking forward to that part of training camp. The way we have it set up after we come back from Newfoundland and play the Toronto games, we have a huge block of practice days there that we're going get down to our game and have a real opportunity to have seven or eight practice days to make sure we really get our game down.
On if he will use his traditional hard skates early in camp:
Well I hope I don't disappoint them. Skating is a big part of our game and it's a big part of the game in National Hockey League. We're going to skate.
On the team's health:
The only player that didn't do the skate test was Marc Methot, he has a little nagging bobo but we anticipate he'll do the skate test in Newfoundland and be available to us. Everybody else, as far as we know, should be ready to go.
On adapting to the Newfoundland trip:
I think the hospitality of the people in Newfoundland is world renowned and I think we're going to get a great reception there. We're only going to spend three nights there but I think the reception we're going to get there and the response we're going to get there is going to be a great experience.
On what he needs to do to be a better coach:
Win more games. Besides that I think I just have to be myself. We ask the players to be themselves and I think it's important that I be myself and do what I do.
On his expectations for Jared Cowen:
We liked him to get back to skating. The biggest thing for us last year with Jared was his skating. He has worked real hard at it this summer and that's going to be something to look for here at training camp. If he's skating good it's going to be a good sign.
On potential D pairings for Cowen:
I think we're going to pair him with lots of guys until we find a pairing that works. We're going to see him with lots of guys unless he gets comfortable really quickly, we're going to be moving things around and trying to see if we can find some pairs that are comfortable.
On if the team has a true number one goalie:
Craig Anderson is a number one goaltender and Robin Lehner has earned an opportunity to play more. Craig is not going to play 70-plus games anymore, Robin has earned the opportunity to challenge to play in more games and that's what we're going to do. We're going to use our goaltenders in the best way we can in order to win games.
On if a diminished workload could negatively affect Anderson:
We're going to find out but I think Craig is a true professional, he knows he's a number one goaltender. The workload he's going to have is going to be important but the workload Robin can provide for our team is going to help us a lot too. It's going to be important for us to have solid goaltending. We're going to really work at the defensive side of our game to give us the opportunity to allow them to be the goaltender. We feel no matter which one is in the net they're going to give us a chance to win.
On if the team's strength is in goal rather than down the middle:
If you go right down the middle of the rink you end up hitting the goaltenders, so that's a big position. Lots of times we say in jest that we should change the name of the game from hockey to goaltending. You don't go anywhere or have a chance to win without goaltending. At the same time the five guys in front of them could do a way better job of helping them and allowing them to be the goaltender. That's what we're trying to accomplish in training camp is work on our defensive game to a spot where we allow our goalies to be goalies and we'll be in good shape.
On last year's goaltending numbers reflecting the team:
I think our whole group's numbers were no good and I don't think we can justify one guy's bad numbers, the whole group wasn't very good. The whole group has to do it together and the team is what matters most.
On Colin Greening's role:
At this point we're evaluating everyone and seeing where they're going to fit in. With Colin he's a big, strong guy. We'd like to see some more consistency out of his game is the big thing for Colin. Night after night it's consistently being the player he can be to be effective, which is using his size, strength and skating and getting to the net. The consistency of those events is what we're looking for.
On Greening's best play under his tenure:
For Colin I think the best he played for me was the Montreal playoff series two years ago. I thought he was a force, a physical force for our team against the Canadiens and was a big factor in that playoff win.
On how defensive hockey has changed over the years:
Well everybody does it now and it isn't just a 3-on-2 and maybe you'll get someone who comes back. The original transition player in the NHL was the goalie. Skate save and a beauty and you go the other way 3-on-2. Nowadays it's more of a five man game up and down the rink and possession of the puck. The best defence is still if you've got the puck you don't have to defend.