It was a practice day on Friday for the Senators. Here's a sampling of what some of the group had to say...
Senators defenceman Cody Ceci has been among the team's leaders in shifts for blueliners this season. He talked about his play to this point in the season...
On his role early in the season:
I feel pretty good about it. That's what I wanted to do was just come in and be a big part of the team. The summer was tough for me. It was a little stressful with all the numbers and contract and stuff and I was the only guy on a two-way. I just wanted to come in and work as hard as possible and that's become my role, just a hard-working two-way defenceman at times. Just work as hard as I can in our own end and play as strong as I can defensively.
On splitting up the puck movers between pairings:
That's a good way to set them up, just having a more defensive guy and a guy that likes jump up in the play is good in every pairing. That's what it is right now, I don't know what's going to happen with the pairings but if they stay the same I think it has been working pretty well.
Senators forward Mike Hoffman was named the second star of the game on Thursday night. Here's what he had to say about his game rounding into form...
On his chemistry with Stone and Lazar:
I'm enjoying it, I feel like since the first game we've started in the right direction and things have just gone forward. For Stone, I got to play with him last year and build some chemistry with him, we work well together. Lazar is a two-way centreman who can do everything on the ice. He's never going to go out there and go through three, four or five guys to score goals, he's more simple but we need that. He can get us pucks and he's a smart player on the ice. The three of us on the ice together is going well.
On his game:
It's a lot different than when I had my first three, four, five games here in the League. I feel more comfortable, I feel like I can hold on the puck more and I know I can make plays in this League. It's big for your confidence. Now it's just going out there, executing and performing. With the stats, I'm getting chances most nights and that's all you can really ask for. Now it's just up to me to bury the chances.
On getting power play time:
The power play is something I think is one of the better things in my game. I've played the point back there since I was 17 years old. For me it's a big thing and that's where a lot of points come from and offence comes from. It keeps you in the game, when you're not in the special teams you can kind of drop behind a bit if we run into penalty trouble.
Jared Cowen is playing his best hockey of the season for the Sens at the moment and had a season high three shots on goal on Thursday night. He talked about his progression since returning to the team's starting lineup...
On his confidence:
I think it's just feeling good and feeling better with the puck on your stick and seeing plays. You can call it confidence. You just listen to what your mind is telling you instead of second guessing yourself and looking for the second play instead of the first one you see. That's kind of what guys go through when they're struggling so I just want to stick with what I'm going on now.
On facing someone of Byfuglien's size:
It's fun, there aren't a lot of guys his size that have his ability. It's interesting, it's a nice challenge and I kind of enjoy playing against bigger guys more often, there aren't a lot of them and it reminds me of junior when they always had a big guy on the other team. It'll be fun, I know he's a good player. We've got good players here too... He's a big guy, last year or a couple years ago we played him and I didn't realize how heavy he was until I was in a corner with him. I don't know if he's actually 260, he may be a little extra.
On the changes going from matching up with small players vs. big players:
Smaller guys like more space, bigger guys like to go right at you and use the advantage of their size and that's what I do too. It's more of a head-to-head. It's kind of the opposite with a smaller guy, they like to use their skill and go around you instead of through you. I like them trying to go through me, I usually win those battles so that's how I prefer it.