Game One: Senators vs. Sabres
Clarke MacArthur has an interesting introduction to his Senators career this weekend as the team takes on two of his three former clubs in Buffalo and Toronto (defunct Atlanta being the third). Gord Wilson caught up with Clarke to get his thoughts on returning to his old home(s).
2:30 PM: It'll be Christmas for some Sens fans tonight as they finally get to see prized off-season acquisition Bobby Ryan play in a game that actually matters after he gave them a taste of his ability in the pre-season. Ryan, as was expected, will be lining up alongside Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek tonight as the trio will have a chance to show off the chemistry they've been working to develop over training camp.
Here's what Bobby had to say after today's skate...
On if there are nerves today:
A little bit, the first game of the year you always have a little bit, but this a different situation. New team, new environment. I feel pretty comfortable but you still get that coming in tonight.
On if he feels he needs to impress tonight:
Yes and no, I feel like I have to play my game and I was brought in to help the team win whether it's by putting up points, scoring goals, whatever it might be. I feel like there's pressure to do that, but if it doesn't happen right away I'm not going to try to get down on myself, just continue to build on the start and that's the most important thing. Getting those first two shifts and feeling good about yourself coming off the ice.
On what he knows about Eastern opponents:
Not a lot, not seeing them at all last year and then very sparingly through the first couple years I was here. I know they're a young team that's kind of in that transition but they've got Ryan Miller who can steal games, they've got a pretty good first line as well so I'm sure we'll see a lot of those guys. I don't know much about the D I'm playing up against or who's going to match up with us, but that's just kind of one of those things where you ask guys around you and I'll just try to concentrate on the things I can do to help us win.
Here's Bobby's full scrum courtesy of Sens TV:
1:30 PM: Here's what Coach MacLean had to say during his usual media availability after today's skate...
On playing Buffalo:
Well, it's the first one for us I think we're the last team or two other teams that haven't played yet. But we're excited to get playing, we feel that training camp has been long enough and we're looking forward to getting out there and being on the road. We're just here to see if we can spoil the party.
On Gryba joining tonight's lineup:
Gryba's going to play and we're looking forward to having him in the lineup, he has worked hard since earlier in training camp and we feel we need him in the lineup tonight.
On executing early being a key:
I think that goes for any season. If you can get to your identity as quick as you can and establish your identity and the way that you play, and the structure of your game, I think those teams generally have the most success early in the season. If you're struggling to find who you are and how you have to play, I think that makes it harder for you. We feel that in our third year here, we should be able to get to our — we shouldn't have a great big struggle to get to our identity and identify how we have to play to be successful, but we won't know until we start playing tonight.
Only what they put on themselves, their expectations are just like ours. I don't think we have anything that we're expecting more of them than what they can actually do, I don't think they expect more of themselves than what they can actually do and I think it's important that they know that and that they go on the ice and try to be themselves. If they do that I think they'll be fine.
On if wearing the C can affect Spezza's play:
I don't think so, I think we've tried to make it important to him that you don't do anything different just because you wear the C. You just have to continue to be yourself, that's what gave you the qualities and gave you the opportunity to be the captain was just to be yourself. I think there shouldn't be any more pressure on him just to be the captain.
On Ryan's addition:
Bobby is a legitimate 30 goal scorer in the league, he's done it two or three times, it's not like he's only done it once. We feel that we're going to give him the opportunity and every opportunity to play with — last time we had a regular 82 game schedule Jason Spezza was the fourth leading scorer in the league. We're going to try to give that every opportunity to be successful and it'll start here tonight.
Here's Coach MacLean's full scrum courtesy of Sens TV:
Vanek - Hodgson - Stafford
Ott - Larsson - Ennis
Girgensons - Grigorenko - Flynn
Scott - Porter - Kaleta
Ehrhoff - Pysyk
Tallinder - Myers
Weber - Ristolainen
Michalek - Spezza - Ryan
MacArthur - Turris - Conacher
Greening - Pageau - Condra
Smith - Da Costa - Neil
Karlsson - Methot
Cowen - Wiercioch
Phillips - Gryba
It has been a long, excruciating wait for Sens fans who have had to watch most of the league kick off their seasons before their team, but the night has finally arrived. The Sabres are 0-1-0 to start the season after a loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday, though they will surely be fired up for their home opener tonight when the puck drops at 7:00 pm at First Niagara Center.
The Sens will hit the ice this morning for their skate in Buffalo. I'll have plenty of updates to follow including, but not limited to, lineup changes, players thoughts on tonight's game, Sens TV updates, Instagram goodness and more.
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