We're taking a bit of a different approach to covering practice today and have compiled some of the best quotes from the locker room as the Sens get set to host the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night.
On being disappointed about not scoring as much:
Yeah, I mean you'd like to score more than eleven at this point in the year but I'm just making the most of the minutes and the time that I get. That's all you can do. You can't be negative, you can't come in and pout - I'm not going to do that. I've been around long enough - that doesn't get you anywhere. I come in, whatever he tells me what's going on today, that's what I do.
How much more help will the successful power play give this team in the standings:
It'd be a big boost. We've been working on it extensively. We'll watch a lot of video. I feel like when I watch the clips of that first game, they pass the puck a lot but they get that prime chance but it's not going in right now. They'll go in for them. Us a second unit whenever we go out, we can get 3 or 4 shots and keep momentum. That's kind of what you do the second unit. You get out there, you look to get a shot or two, you look to make a play or two but instead of that you just don't want to lose momentum with that little bit of time left. Those things will come; I truly believe if you have the right guys in the right places.
On being asked to shoot the puck more:
Yeah, I hear that everywhere. I hear it at the grocery store, I hear it at the movie theatre and I hear it at dinner. I tell people all of the time, "If the right play is to shoot the puck then I'm going to shoot it but if the right play is to pass it, I can't help you". I don't know what you want me to tell you when I'm out like that. When I get that kind of stuff, you laugh. But at the same time, I tell them all of the time, if I get a puck in the shooting area I'll shoot it absolutely. When you're an offensive player you get hard on yourself before coaches, before management, before anybody else does. That's nature; you start to question things and you start to get mad at yourself. Throughout the year, we've all been guilty of it in some sorts or the other and right now it's me. I try to just watch video and then come away with the positive side of it. 'You were right there; you were right where you were supposed to be. The puck didn't come, you regroup and you go back and do it again in the next shift.' Again, you got to be positive.
What has the team not done that needs to be done against Robin Lehner:
We let him see a lot of pucks. We all know Lehner, as well as he knows us so he knows where we like to shoot a little bit but at the same time we've got to find a way to create more second, third opportunities. If you watch the video after the last game, he saw everything and he's going to stop everything. He's a big athletic guy; you got to take advantage of him.
On having a minor hockey team join them on the ice after practice:
I was getting made fun of for stealing the puck a few times out there by some of the older guys but any opportunity I can get to snag a couple of goals, whether it's against 12 year olds or 30 year olds, I'm going to take it (laughs). From a personal standpoint, I never had the opportunity to do anything like that when I was a kid and I can only imagine what it would be like to skate with a bunch of NHL guys. They seemed to really enjoy it. A lot of them were looking for Erik the whole time but aside from that it was humbling and cool.
On the locker room being more even keeled this season:
I think a lot of that is just attributed to the fact that we've got an older group in here now and when I say older I just mean we've got less rookies. All the "young guys" aren't necessarily young guys anymore. They all have a couple of years under their belt and our young guys like Ryan Dzingel have stepped it up a lot as well. We're not panicking. Every team goes through ups and downs and we're no different from any of those teams. We're going to lose a couple of games here and there...that's going to happen when you're playing an 82 games schedule. The room has been pretty calm through all the ups and downs that we've had which is the most important thing that you can do.
On not getting caught up in the slumps:
I credit the coaching staff for that. They've managed to keep things light in here as well. You can let it get away from you and everyone starts pointing the finger at each other when things aren't going so well but they've gone out of their way to address that and make sure we don't do that because in pro sports that's a natural thing to do when things aren't going well. We've handled that as a group very well I think.
On the team's struggles against teams below them in the standings:
You can say you treat every team the same but human nature kicks in and some games are just easier to get up for. When you play against top teams you want to beat them to show everyone that you're there. It's pretty much a waste when you're undervaluing other teams that you're playing. Whether that's the case or not I don't know but you can't do that. Those 2 points are just too important.
On dealing with the highs and the lows this season:
I think it has a lot to do with the mindset and the trust in #TheSystem. Anytime we've lost a couple of games we've just sat back and kind of looked at it for what it is. It's a long season...it's 82 games and there are going to be ups and downs. Teams will go on 18 game win streaks and then lose the next 5 so it's a matter of putting things in perspective and knowing that there are ups and downs. Our coaching staff did a good job of instilling that in us.
On his starring role on social media after Saturday's win:
I have to give props to you guys because that's some of the coolest stuff I've seen on social media. It's funny...where does that stuff even come from? I don't know if you have a little template or you're just going with the flow or you're just alone scouring the internet for way too long but we definitely appreciate that stuff.
On Montreal and Boston having their bye weeks this week:
I think we have 4 or 5 games at hand on both teams so these are the types of stretches of hockey where you can create that separation and for us just trying to catch Montreal. I know we like where we're sitting but at the same time if you don't take advantage of those games at hand then they're useless.
On hitting the 20-goal mark for the third consecutive season:
I think I'm just trying to be consistent. We all want the team to have success so when the team has success you see a lot of different guys have personal success. Whether that's offensively or defensively or just having a good solid year, I think where the team is at right now, we're in a good spot. Guys are excited to be at the rink and excited to play games and that's all you can ask for.
On wanting to peak at the right time:
We scored a ton of goals last year but we weren't able to keep it out of our net. Right now, we're adjusting to winning those 3-2 games, 2-1 games and we're still learning. We're obviously not at our best yet and that's a good thing. We want to still have room for improvement and by the time we're coming down the stretch run we want to be playing our best hockey. I think we've put ourselves in a good situation to do that.
Sens head coach Guy Boucher also spoke with the media this morning and you can catch his comments below courtesy of Sens TV...