The Senators are in full crisis mode.
Read the riot act by GM Bryan Murray following a 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils Wednesday night, they don’t have a lot of time to recover.
The Senators are back on the ice Thursday against the Florida Panthers at home. Murray didn’t point any fingers during his eight minute session with the players but he let them know in no uncertain terms he isn’t happy.
“Pulling out all the expletives: ‘Wake up … wake up and show up,” said winger Bobby Ryan.
“I think what I took most out of it was that we can be the most maddening team (Murray) has ever seen. We show up and play a great 64 minutes against St. Louis and then play zero against a team like New Jersey.”
Every aspect of the Senators is under the microscope. The coaching, leadership and character is all being questioned because the club hasn’t won two straight in over a month.
It should be noted MacLean took responsibility himself and admitted he has to do a better job coaching this group out of this mess. He needs to find answers as well but pointing the finger at the leadership group is quite something with captain Jason Spezza in his first year.
“We don’t play good enough, we don’t play hard enough, we don’t play long enough,” said MacLean Thursday morning. “That’s been going on since the first day. That hasn’t changed.
“We’re here again today trying to find solutions, trying to find a way to fix it, however that is. We’ve tried lots of things to this point that works for a game. We can’t seem to get it going to the next game. We have to keep trying.”
MacLean sounds a bit like a broken record. It was pointed out to him by the Sun that he made similar statements in mid-October, mid-November and early-December. This theme has been constant for 35 games. More was expected from this team.
“We’re still saying the same thing. We haven’t got consistent work ethic, structure and leadership in our group since Day 1. We still don’t have it,” said MacLean.
“We’re still searching for our best team, we’re still searching for our best game and we haven’t found it. If you work hard and your leadership group makes sure the team is prepared to play, your team should have the opportunity to have success.”
MacLean said he understands the expectations were high coming into the season after the club made the second round of the playoffs last spring.
Spezza said Murray has “been disappointed with the group from the onset of the season. It was just him letting us know that it’s not acceptable how we’re playing.”
Spezza, who is expected to play with Clarke MacArthur and Zack Smith against the Panthers, said the leaders have to be better at their jobs.
“Whenever you’re not winning you start looking at the top down,” said Spezza. “Being captain, it gets reflected on me first and I have to find a way our group more consistent and my own game more consistent.
“When things go wrong you look at the top down. It’s always been that way in sports.”
MacLean will make changes with defenceman Marc Methot playing. He was a healthy scratch against the Devils because MacLean didn’t want to change a winning lineup. Blueliner Patrick Wiercioch is out.
Craig Anderson returns to the net.