Coach MacLean's post-Round 1 Update
The Sens have an off day on the ice, but Head Coach Paul MacLean was at Scotiabank Place preparing for Round 2 and passed along some thoughts on the series they just had, Round 2, and a potential Jason Spezza return.
Take a look...
On preparing for possible opponents:
We don't do it for all opponents. There's one that could be obvious, they play tonight. We're not trying to make up extra work to do work. We're trying to prepare for the right people at the same time and get a lot of preliminary stuff done on 2-4 teams.
On Daniel Alfredsson's leadership:
Experience and leadership are really important in any team that has success in the playoffs and we're no different. Daniel's abilities are quite obvious in how he can play the game and the experience that he has. I think he's also the benefit of a lot of help. Chris Phillips, Chris Neil, Sergei Gonchar and Craig Anderson as well as our leadership group of our team, they give each other an awful lot of support and awful lot of help in the leadership department and Daniel is the representative of all of that because he wears the 'C' but I believe truly the help he has is what makes him.
On if he expects Jason Spezza to start round 2:
No, not at all. I don't know what the hope is. He's in a rehab process and the process has him skating and that's still part of the process, but to me he's still a long way away.
On the team's depth at centre:
The growth of Kyle Turris and Zack Smith this season has been outstanding. They've really, through the adversity the team has faced, have grown a lot as players. Their overall game has improved so much. They were outstanding in the series against Montreal as well as Jean-Gabriel Pageau and playing as well as he did, Zibanejad coming up at the opportunity and playing a significant role as well. All four of them were very consistent in the five games against Montreal and that growth continues.
On having the opportunity to rest before Round 2:
The first round is physical and obviously we were physical and that's part of our identity. Having the opportunity to rest and heal the body a little bit — we don't want to get it so that it feels too good — we want to come back and are able to play hard again right away. These two days that we have here, we're trying to take advantage of and I think it's not only good for their bodies but good for their minds.
On what he expects from Spezza before a return:
He has to be able to play at the level the team is playing at. We have to really guard against the fact that the quality of player Jason is — we all know who that is — but at the same time the team is playing a certain speed and if you can't come in and play at that speed you're going to slow things down. That could be a detriment to the team. One thing that Milan Michalek, Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson have done in their rehab is when they came back to the team they were able to play at the speed of the team. That's the important factor for me. Jason has to be up to speed to where the team is playing at and the treadmill goes pretty fast in the second round of the playoffs.
On rejoining a team in Round 2:
The second round is a different speed and level again. Don't get me wrong, when Jason Spezza is ready to play we want him to play. Nobody wants him in the lineup more than the coach, but at the same time, the coach wants to make sure that he's ready and it's not a detriment to the team when he comes back to play.
On getting scoring from multiple players:
I thought that was a big factor. When you look at the statistics at the end of it, our depth and ability to score throughout our lineup is a hard part for the Montreal Canadiens to defend. On their side, they were easier to defend because their offence came from a limited amount of people. For us that's a good sign going down the road and an even better sign to get a player the quality of Jason Spezza back.
On the performance of young players:
I don't think we're surprised because they played well for us during the regular season. The concern you have is are they going to get overwhelmed by the Stanley Cup playoffs. Can they handle the speed of it? Can the handle the pressure of it? That's the part that can be overwhelming for young players. We thought our players handled it very well. They came out and won a playoff series in five games. Did we dominate the series and control every game? No we didn't. Were we on our heels? Yeah, we were on our heels at some times during games. Did our goaltender win some games for us? Absolutely he made some saves and kept us in the game. At the end of the day and when the playoff series is done, our younger players and our team came together and found a way to score enough goals to win a playoff series. The way that we played in the third period of every game is a great credit to our young players and to the leadership group of our team.
On coaches and veterans helping young players prepare:
It's a combination of all of those things. The preparation that we gave them and the preparation the veterans give them and then their own abilities to want to be a significant player. I think all three of those allowed them to have the success that they had.
On if the team showed nerves:
There's always a little bit before every game. I thought that at the start of game five the other night we were a little bit nervous. A sign of nervousness for me is when we have people standing around and not exactly participating in the game. We had that at the start of the game but our goaltender made some saves and the post helped him one time and we get the first goal. I thought we started to play a little bit after that.
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