SNAPSHOTS: Brady Tkachuk says the Senators want to finish strong against the Leafs … Associate coach Jack Capuano will head up Team USA


Article content

The Ottawa Senators will wrap up their season Wednesday with one final chapter of the Battle of Ontario.

And, after a difficult start to the season, they’re determined to have a strong finish against the Toronto Maple Leafs when the Senators close out this 56-game schedule at the Canadian Tire Centre.

No, the Senators didn’t look great in a 6-1 loss to the Calgary Flames Sunday night at the Saddledome in the second game of a back-to-back road trip that started Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets, but it was the club’s first setback like that since a 7-1 decision to the Edmonton Oilers on March 10.

Alternate captain Brady Tkachuk called the club’s effort a step backwards and totally unacceptable.

“I thought we kind of went back to our old habits here,” Tkachuk told reporters after the loss. “They’re a team that needs to win out. They came out ready to play and we didn’t. It’s a little frustrating but we know we’re going to be ready for our last game of the year.


This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

“It’s not only about ourselves, it’s about making our community proud. They’ve been sticking with us through thick and thin. We just can’t give them that effort we gave them (Sunday).”

It’s always hard to pinpoint why games like this happen. The Senators didn’t get great goaltending from Anton Forsberg, who was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals on 23 shots. Coach D.J. Smith noted he thought the better team won Sunday and we haven’t heard that assessment from him in a long time.

With an 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games going into the loss in Calgary, the Senators were the NHL’s hottest team. It’s fair to say they learned hard way against the Flames that you can’t just show up and go through the motions to compete you need to build on what brought success in 4-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets Saturday.

As former NHL goalie Jamie McLennan noted on the TSN broadcast of the Calgary game the Senators “always looked like they were a half step behind.”

“That just can’t happen with our effort, including myself, that was the game I played in awhile,” said Tkachuk. “It’s all about bouncing back in this league. We want to leave a good taste in mouths going into the summer. That’s our only objective and my only focus going into our last game.”

No, one win won’t make a huge difference as to where the Senators finish in the standings, but as they head their separate ways they want to feel good about themselves. The performance against the Flames hasn’t been the norm for this team by any stretch of the imagination in the last six or seven weeks.


This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Not only have the Senators been getting timely scoring from the likes of Tkachuk, Josh Norris, Drake Batherson, Connor Brown and Tim Stuetzle, the club has played well defensively. Sunday was a setback and the Senators now want some redemption against the arch-rival Leafs.

In five of their last 11 games, the Senators have allowed one goal or less and they recorded two shutouts. They’re without a big piece on the blueline with Thomas Chabot sidelined with a shoulder injury, but it’s given the club a chance to look at ErikBrannstrom and Jacob Bernard-Docker in regular roles down the stretch here.

“We’ve been playing some great hockey and it’s way more fun when you’re winning,” Tkachuk said.


Senators’ associate coach Jack Capuano is excited at the chance to represent his country.

Team USA confirmed Monday the Capuano will be head coach of the club at the IIHF world hockey championship that will be held from May 21-to-June 6 in Riga, Latvia. He will be assisted by Nate Leaman of Providence College and Adam Nightengale of national development team program and goalie Kevin Reiter while Ottawa video coach Mike King is on the staff.

Members of Team USA and Team Canada will gather in Newark, N.J. Saturday to head overseas. The roster hasn’t been put in place yet because several players aren’t sure if they want to travel overseas because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“Anytime you’re able to represent your country it’s something that’s pretty special,” Capuano said Monday. “It’s been a very unique year with COVID-19 and all. It’s going to be interesting rosters for a lot of teams but I’m looking forward to going over with our coaching and support staff and enjoying this opportunity.


This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

“I really want to thank the organization, especially Pierre Dorion and D.J. Smith, because this is a quick turnaround with the season ending on May. 12.”

Capauno was selected for the job by American GM Chris Drury.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have an outstanding coaching staff, led by Jack Capuano,” said Drury in a statement. “Their involvement with USA Hockey in various ways over the course of time and combined international experience will be of great benefit as we head into the tournament.”


We’ll find out Tuesday when the Senators hold their final skate of the season if top goalie Matt Murray will be ready to suit up. He has been out since he left in the second period of the club’s game against the Vancouver Canucks Apr. 24. He has been on the ice while the Senators are on the road but he has to get through practice to start against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Twitter: @sungarrioch


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *