With a big 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in game one of rookie tournament play, the Sens came out of their first contest looking solid for their first time in competitive play since the spring.
Luke Richardson — who is the head coach of the group of rookies in London — weighed in on their performance after the win.
Here's what he had to say...
On first impressions:
Good. I thought we had a good energy at the start and made a couple of nice plays on the goals. Then I thought we let off a little bit and then the second period, we stopped moving our feet and weren't as physical and they had the puck a little more. We just spent too much time defending and then we picked it up again. We got another goal and killed off some penalties well. I thought, you know, we talked about picking it up a little better in the third, controlling the puck and we got a little stronger on our sticks and less turnovers and got pucks out of our zone. It made it a little easier. We took a few penalties in the third which we had to kill, which happens, it's early in the year.
On the team coming together:
Yeah, that (the physical play) and then you can see the guys enjoy each other when they scored some goals. Sometimes scoring goals helps a team come together a little bit, create a little bit of offence and I think the guys had some fun with it. They worked hard. We talked about the work they put in the summer, don't clam up and be tight now, enjoy it but be responsible with the puck. But go out and enjoy it and I think they did that for the most part.
On the cohesion:
We actually talked about defending that (quick passing) because Pittsburgh likes to use that in Wilkes-Barre and their whole system. I think they took it to heart and used it against them and it worked. Our power play moved the puck very well and our penalty killing was pretty good, we let one slip in, but other than that I think overall, system-wise the guys are pretty good. Just individual sloppiness in a few areas, that's to be expected in the first game but overall I think it was a good effort and they enjoyed it.
On the play of veterans:
Leadership's not always about wearing the captain's C and scoring the goals, but it's all the things. I thought both of them (Grant and Pageau) were tremendous on faceoffs, especially on the penalty kill in our zone, and both of them were physical and strong on the puck. Even Derek Grant, it's rookie camp, exhibition game and he's blocking shots on the penalty kill, which hurt like hell. Those are the type of things provide leadership to guys who are on their first time around.
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