After a lengthy players-only meeting prior to practice today, the Sens went back to basics today with a heavy focus on passing and zone exits at practice. Head coach Paul MacLean addressed the media after practice to discuss where the team was prior to their trip to Chicago.
Here's what he had to say...
On the players-only meeting:
I think any time you're talking about things and finding solutions when you work in a group I think it's a good thing and a positive thing, trying to find solutions.
On what comes out of that:
Solutions. Obviously the obvious part is to play better but for the most part you have to sort out the direction you're going in before you set sail. That's what those type of things are is what is the course that we're going to follow and lets work hard to do it.
On the leadership group calling the meeting:
I didn't ask them directly to do that but I believe that that's what happened. Usually that's what happens is the leadership group gets them together to discuss things.
On if players only meetings work:
Yeah, it's healthy. Any time you're in a family or in a group and you have to sort some stuff out you have to sit down and talk about it and not be afraid to say what you think is on your mind or what the issues are. I think when that happens it's a healthy thing and a lot of good can come out of that and that's what we have to expect is a lot of good will come out of today.
On the team as a close group:
I believe they are, yeah. Right now we're nearing the end of probably the toughest stretch in our schedule as far as opponents. That's not an excuse, but we've played some very good teams over the first 12 games of the year and finishing off tomorrow in Chicago. That's not an excuse, like I said, but we've had some competition, which has been a test for us, and have we come through it? Has there been a little bit of adversity? We all know that adversity — any good team has to go through some adversity in order to come out and realize what we are and how we have to play. It's not like we wanted it right now, but I think this team has gone through some adversity in the past and come out of it a pretty good group and a pretty dedicated group. That's my expectation of what will happen.
On the play being concerning vs. the record:
I think it's the way we're playing. I don't think we're playing at this time the way we feel we can play and the way that makes us successful. Now, does the opposition have something to do with that? Yeah, they don't always behave the way we want them to. It's up to us to dictate that and establish our game and get playing our game. We haven't done it to this point but I believe that playing these good teams has given us a good lesson on what it takes and we usually learn our lessons pretty good down the road.
On if he has problems with the effort level:
No, just the structure of it and the organization of it is the biggest concern that I have. We probably try to do too much as individuals instead of trying to do a little bit less and play 50/50, for one of another phrase, just play the game simpler when it's not going your way is the biggest concern for me.
On a zone exit focus at practice:
Well, that's been a bit of a bugaboo as far as I'm concerned the first 12 games. We've been known in the past as being a pretty efficient team in getting out of our zone and not spending a lot of time there, but to this point in time we haven't been that. We need to — in order to do that you have to be in there together and you have to execute. For me right now our execution or our passing hasn't been to the level it needs to be.
On if he has chosen a starter for tomorrow:
I haven't made a final decision yet.
On if there's a benefit to starting the year with a hard schedule:
No, I'd rather be 12-1 to tell you the truth. I've got no time for anything, I'd way rather have it the other way around. You have to play your schedule the way they schedule it, you go through it and we knew it was going to be a tough stretch in our schedule going into it and now we're at the end of it and we can find a way to go in and get something out of the game tomorrow night. We'll be coming back home and getting started on November and we've got a lot of home games in November and we'll see if we can get ourselves going.
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