Warren's piece: Black-and-blue blueline, Barkov recovers, Quenneville is wary of Senators and a sea of Santas

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Warren's piece: Black-and-blue blueline, Barkov recovers, Quenneville is wary of Senators and a sea of Santas

Post by admin » Mon Dec 16, 2019 7:42 am

The hits keep coming to the Ottawa Senators blue line.

After a rough afternoon of blocking shots in Saturday’s 4-3 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, defenceman Nikita Zaitsev was not on the ice for Sunday’s workout here.

While Zaitsev is in Florida with the team, there’s a very real chance he could miss both Monday’s game against the Panthers and Tuesday’s contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Dylan DeMelo took a shot off the hand and could be out of the lineup for another three weeks.

“He’s sore,” coach D.J. Smith said of Zaitsev. “We’re hopeful that he’ll play (Monday), but we’ll know a little bit more later.”

If Zaitsev can’t go, the Senators will be forced to dress both Max Lajoie and Andreas Englund, who was recalled from Belleville of the American Hockey League on an emergency basis after the DeMelo injury.

“There’s a chance (Englund) could play,” said Smith. “I’m going to talk to the other coaches, but he looked good at practice. He’s a big guy and we did want to watch him in practice.”

What will also be intriguing is what the coaching staff chooses to do with Lajoie, who played only 3:52 against the Blue Jackets.

ENGLUND TAKES ON FLORIDA: The way Englund sees it, the style of game being employed by Belleville coach Troy Mann is ideal for him.

“The way I get noticed is to focus on the stuff I do, to be physical and use the short outlet passes,” said Englund, who has played in nine games over three seasons with the Senators after being drafted 40th overall in 2014 … On the topic of Belleville, goaltender Joey Daccord was all over Saturday’s 4-1 win over Toronto. He stopped 34 of 35 shots for the win and assisted on Erik Brannstrom’s first goal while playing in the Senators organization. Belleville has won three straight and is 8-2 in its past 10 games.

GOOD NEWS ON PAUL FRONT: Only minutes into Sunday’s workout, Nick Paul crashed into the boards after tripping over Chris Tierney’s stick. He lay on the ice for several minutes before helped to the bench by teammates. Paul did, however, return for the tail end of the workout and he is expected to play against the Panthers … Jonathan Davidsson, who might have been in the lineup if Paul was out of the lineup, was re-assigned to Belleville late Sunday afternoon. It’s possible J.C. Beaudin could be coming back the other way.

GOOD NEWS ON BARKOV FRONT: The Panthers were also breathing a sigh of relief Sunday. Captain Aleksander Barkov, who has 10 goals and 26 assists, was back on the ice at practice. Barkov’s status had been unclear after the crashed into the boards following a collision with Boston’s Charlie McAvoy late in Saturday’s 4-2 loss.

“I tried to get up and I just couldn’t get up,” he said following Sunday’s practice. “But maybe a minute after that, I was fine and everything came back to normal. I haven’t seen (the replay) and I don’t actually remember what happened. I just hit my leg into the boards and when it first happened, I couldn’t feel my leg for a minute. After that, I shook it off.”

BEWARE THE ‘DANGEROUS’ SENATORS: Panthers coach Joel Quenneville was touting the success of the Senators Sunday, while also discussing his team’s inability to play complete games lately.

“We’ve got a real dangerous team coming in here,” he said. “There’s some familiarity with this team and where they’re at. I don’t know if you can say they’ve surprised teams, but, hey, they’re right there in the mix. They’ve got a lot of life in that situation from their perspective.”

The Panthers, meanwhile, have been guilty of starting slow, forced to try and come from behind, leading to their three-game losing streak.

“We shouldn’t have been chasing the game, we should have been dictating the game. And then you say, why didn’t we win or why did we have poor games and I think the effort or the compete level is not high. We need a standard and an expectation level across the board.”

Quenneville is doing what countless coaches have done before and will do again to break slumps. He’s juggling his forward lines, looking to wake some players up.

THAT FLORIDA LIFE: Some of the things you see in the Sunshine State without even trying (a bikini contest in a hotel ballroom Saturday evening) probably shouldn’t be surprising. Some other things (a couple thousand Santa Clauses jogging down the Fort Lauderdale strip as part of a fun run early Sunday morning) do catch you off guard … And about that 25-foot high fake snowman welcoming you to the Fort Lauderdale beach? Merry Sandy Christmas.

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