Senators getting back to basics

Posted on October 25, 2010

Senators getting back to basics

With the Ottawa Senators struggling to find an identity the players believe it's time to return to basics.

With just two wins in their last six games the Senators (2-5-1) want to keep things as simple as possible.

At this point it might be more of a matter of the Senators needing to focus on their mental game.

"It's being ready every time you step on the ice to go and do the right things and have a good shift," said Chris Phillips. "It's not thinking that you have to have a good game, not thinking that you have to win the game because you've lost a couple. You've got to throw the results out the window and just focus on playing your shift."

As a whole the players realize change is necessary, but admit sometimes trying too hard can create even more problems.

"When you're losing you start over-analyzing every play," said Chris Kelly. "When things are going good you just go out there and play, and when things aren't you tend to think the game more than you should. Should I be here, should I be there and most times you end up in the middle and in the wrong spot. It's not lack of effort by anyone in this room for where we are."

Where the Senators are is not pretty and with three games this week against Phoenix, Florida and Boston they have little time to sit back and ponder their state of misery.

"We're a confident group in here, that's not in the back of my mind," admitted Kelly, who has been honest in assessing the team's early play. "I know we're going to get out of this and play the hockey that we're normally used to playing and be fine.

"After eight games you can't just go out there and panic, it's not going to help the situation. You can't go out there and do other guys' jobs. Each guy has their job to do and that's how you get out of this as a team. It's not one guy that's going to get us on the right track and I think that if that's the mentality that guys think then we're going to be in way more trouble than we are right now."

There's no denying the Senators have missed centre Jason Spezza who has been sidelined for the past three games with a groin injury. Spezza, who skated on his own prior to practice, is doubtful for Tuesday's game against the Coyotes and as Cory Clouston said "hopeful" for Thursday.

Without Spezza the Senators have managed just four goals in their past two games, three of which came from Daniel Alfredsson.

Despite having scored just 16 goals this season the Senators continued to focus on defence in practice today as Clouston believes that if the Senators can have better execution out of its own end it will result in more offensive opportunities.

"Today was all based on supporting our defencemen and giving them a chance to have success," said Clouston. "We worked on breakouts, regroups, everything under pressure and making sure we have a plan once we have possession."

At this time playing smarter might be key for the Senators.

"When everything's going well you just go out and play and you don't worry about the x's and o's they come and it seems like you're always ready," said Mike Fisher. "We've got to get back to having that winning feeling and just going out and playing and having a little bit of fun."

While the players like to keep things in perspective by pointing out it's just eight games they do realize there is a sense of urgency.

"We've got to turn it around soon that's for sure," added Fisher. "These games now are just as important as they are in April."

While Phillips is quick to acknowledge that this is far from the start the team wanted, it's not unchartered territory for the Senators. He pointed out that in 2006-07 the team started the season going 6-10-1 and yet eventually went on to reach the Stanley Cup Finals.