Gameday Journal presented by Monarch Homes: Game 60 — Red Wings vs. Senators
3:45 PM: Today's Gameday Goodie talks to Roger's House honourary co-chair Chris Neil (his wife Caitlin is also a co-chair) about today's telethon. To make an online donation to Roger's House, click here. Take a look...
On if it's as exciting as a first start:
I don't think it would count but 40 years from now you could always say you were called up and for whatever that's worth I think it would be pretty cool. My goal has always been to play in the NHL and I'm obviously I'm not quite there yet, it's just kind of another step in the road.
On if he follows the organization's goaltending stable:
I think you just need to worry about yourself. If you start doing that I think it just carries to when you are here permanently you're worried about other guys in the league and rumours going around. All you can do is worry about your approach each day and focus on how you come to work each day and the work you put in. That's all you can really worry about.
On his game in Binghamton:
Lately I've been happy with the way I've been playing and overall it has been a big learning curve but lately the team has been having some success and I've been a part of that and that has been great.
On the coaching staff in Binghamton:
As far as goaltending specific stuff the coaches leave us alone but Rick Wamsley has been great for me, helping me a lot, he has been down in Binghamton quite a bit and I think he has kind of been a key part of me getting my season on an uphill path. Luke and Coach Stirling have both been great for the team and everyone on that as far as keeping us on a winning path. It's just been great to see such success down there so far.
On the Hamburglar mask:
It was a nickname given to me by one of my college teammates for eating up pucks so he called me the Hamburglar. If you look closely it's not hamburgers on there it's pucks... Wade Finegan (was the teammate). He's working finance in Toronto at Scotiabank. It was just kind of a joke we had going in practice.
On how he heard about the call-up:
We had our game yesterday in Toronto at 11 AM and then after the game Luke pulled me in the office and Randy Lee was there. He kind of gave me the news that I'd be coming up for tonight and I flew out of Toronto last night here.
On his first year as a pro out of college:
To be honest the biggest thing is I think Binghamton is leading the AHL in scoring right now and for us at Bowling Green that was something where we were always at the bottom end of that spectrum and to have a team in front of you that can put up goals the way we have so far, it's a nice feeling as a goalie knowing you'll have support there each night.
2:45 PM: Sens captain Jason Spezza offered his thoughts ahead of the first game back after the Olympic break. Here's what he had to say...
On if a second Alfredsson return is in their minds:
I think it has completely worn off for us. It's more just like an ex-teammate and hopefully you get a chance to say hi after the game. It's a pretty big game for us standings-wise so I think the Alfie stuff is in the back of everyone's mind but not in the forefront like it was the first time
On getting going against Detroit:
They played last night and had a big win and they're a team we're trying to catch so it's thrown right into the fire in a very important game. It's the biggest one of the year for us.
On if the loss in Boston is in anyone's mind:
No, it's two and a half or three weeks ago now. I don't think it has been talked about, I haven't even heard it mentioned to be honest. We played good hockey up to the break, we had a terrible game in Boston but if anything it probably just got us ready for this week. It hasn't been talked about at all.
On returning home for a game:
We've been away a lot, we haven't practiced here, we haven't played here so it's nice to get back. We were saying yesterday it feels like a different arena because we've been at the Sensplex so much this week. It's nice for us to get back here and play a game, hopefully the fans are excited with the fact we haven't played in a while too. It should be a good game before we head out west.
On finding the balance between rest and work on the break:
It's tricky, you have to remind yourself it's not a summer vacation and just a little break in the season. For me I've got a pregnant wife and two kids and we went home to Toronto so I had lots of time. I stayed active and got to the gym. For some of the guys that went away on vacations, they had to make sure they had a good plan and I think most guys did and now we've had a good week of skating so with a young team I think it's easier to keep guys motivated and keep guys knowing that when we get back going it's going to be going quick.
On tonight's game:
They played last night but for us we'll probably be not as sharp with the puck or as crisp as you'd like to be when you're in mid-season form. I think it's important to keep it simple. I think we'll be excited to be playing so the legs will probably be there and there will probably be a lot of speed in the game early on but it probably won't be as crisp as a game normally is. You have to be prepared for that and make sure that we come out hungry and just try to make easy plays early on with shots on net — kind of let the game come to you.
Sens TV also caught up with Jason here:
2:00 PM: Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Sens and Red Wings...
Greening - Spezza -Michalek
MacArthur - Turris - Condra
Hoffman - Zibanejad - Ryan
Conacher - Smith - Neil
Methot - Karlsson
Phillips - Ceci
Cowen - Gryba
Detroit Red Wings
Franzen - Datsyuk - Eaves
Abdelkader - Helm - Alfredsson
Tatar - Sheahan - Jurco
Miller - Andersson - Nyquist
Kronwall - Ericsson
Quincey - DeKeyser
Smith - Lashoff
12:30 PMThrough three games this season, Clarke MacArthur is tied for the team lead in goals against the Red Wings with three. He offered his thoughts on getting back at it tonight against Detroit...
On what has worked vs. Detroit:
I think we've had some stuff off the rush on them. Just watching their games as of late I think they've tightened that up. It'll be about getting traffic on goal and getting some cycle time where you can tire out their defenders and then make plays. That's what we've got to concentrate on tonight.
On if playing uptempo teams is a favourable matchup for the Sens:
I think so. They're not the big and beat you up kind of games. We're obviously built for a skating game and so are they. I think it'll be a good matchup tonight.
On if playing Detroit makes the return from the break easier:
Yeah, we have to. It's a team we're trying to catch, all these points are huge and tonight is a first step in going towards that playoff berth.
On returning to the home ice:
It's nice to get back and get back into a routine. We only had 10 days off without skating and it feels like you're off for the whole summer without a routine. It's kind of scary for what you have to look forward down the road when you're done playing. It's nice to be back and have to be somewhere at a certain time and be back with the guys.
11:45 AM: Sens head coach Paul MacLean offered his thoughts on tonight's matchup after today's morning skate. Here's what he had to say...
On last night's Red Wings-Canadiens game:
I thought it was a very well played game. The Red Wings, I thought they played a real good team game and it's going to be a tough night tonight.
On if there was any rust in the game:
At the start of the game there might have been a little bit but as it went on I thought the Red Wings established their game and that had more to do with Montreal's issues than being off for two weeks. Early in the game there was some fumbling of the puck here or there but I thought as it went on the Red Wings established a pretty good game.
On the keys to avoiding rust tonight:
For us we want to make sure we really keep it simple to start out and not try to force anything or try to make too much happen. Let's just get out and get playing, get everybody on the ice, make sure that we win some faceoffs, do the little things right and let things build from there. They've played a game already so that execution part for them is there but, again, they played last night so we've got to get out and get playing.
On the lineup:
Kassian won't play, Wiercioch and Corvo on the back end won't play.
On Anderson's status:
Craig is going to be here to practice tomorrow so everything as far as I know is great.
On what the Olympics will do for Karlsson:
I think any time you can go on a world stage like that and be judged the best player at your position, if you're lacking any kind of confidence at all, that should certainly elevate your levels of how you feel about your own game and how you can play. I think even a bigger part of it was the success that his team had and his abilities of finding his game and elevating his game inside the structure of the team's game. They got to the gold medal game so even though it was a short window of opportunity I think it's a great learning thing for him to find that he can fit his game into the structure of the team and still have success.
Well we just want Mike to be Mike, try not to force anything and get out and play. Don't just look around and not play. I think the first couple of times he has been here he has come up and not played and we need him just to play. We're not expecting him to be anything more than he is. We expect him to skate, be able to shoot the puck, hang on to the puck and be able to make some plays and just be a player. Don't try to be something you're not and don't try to force things that aren't there. The most important thing is get up and get playing.
On if he had been awed by the NHL in earlier recalls:
I think at times he has been. The last time he was here for sure. The first time he came up last year I thought he was better but the last time when he came up and earlier this year at training camp he just didn't play. That's not that he didn't play well but he didn't play. In order to be able to show what you can do you need to be able to free yourself and play so we can see what you can do.
10:00 AM: The Ottawa Senators are officially back at it tonight at 7:30 PM when they take on the Detroit Red Wings at Canadian Tire Centre.
Tonight's game marks the team's first since the conclusion of the Olympic break. With the return of Erik Karlsson and Milan Michalek from Sochi, the team will have a full complement of players to choose from with the exception of goaltender Craig Anderson. Anderson has left the team to be in Florida with his wife as they await the birth of their second child. Andrew Hammond has joined the Sens on recall from Binghamton to back up Robin Lehner.
The Red Wings sit one spot ahead of the Sens in both the wild card and Atlantic Division standings with a record of 27-20-12 in 59 games for 66 points. Last night they knocked off the Montreal Canadiens by a 2-1 score in overtime.
In three games this season the Senators are 2-1-0 against Detroit with the road team winning all three matchups.
The Sens will hit the ice for their morning skate at 10:15 in Ottawa and 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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