A strong Sens of 'urgency'

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:09 AM ET

While there is plenty of panic surrounding the Senators, it’s not coming from their coach or players.

Coach Cory Clouston is confident his players can work their way out a season-opening 1-4-1 slump, but knows the slide can’t last much longer.

“Urgency is a lot better word than panic,” said Clouston following an hour-long skate Wednesday at Scotiabank Place. “We have to play with a lot more sense of urgency and (if you) panic, nothing positive comes from that. Urgency, if we can create that, we can turn it into a positive, for sure.”

Preparing to face the Sabres in Buffalo on Friday, the Senators need a number of players to step up their play.

“We have to be concerned because we wanted to get off to a good start and we haven’t,” said defenceman Chris Campoli. “We’ve got to get things turned around because if you don’t, you find yourself looking up and it’s a long way back.

“We know we’ve got some work to do and we’re confident in that. We really have to start playing a more consistent game and build on the positives.”

Second-year blueliner Erik Karlsson is one of those Senators who needs to pick up the pace.

“I haven’t played like I did last (season),” he said. “It’s a long way to go. I’ve just got to keep it up and be better every day. It’s a lot of different things. I’ve just got to work hard and stay on my game, believe in myself and hopefully turn it around soon.”

THIS ’N’ THAT

Clouston hasn’t ruled out giving starting rookie G Robin Lehner vs. the Sabres. He has seen spot duty in the last two games. “We’ll see. We’ll play that by ear. We have confidence in him, absolutely,” said Clouston ... The club recalled D David Hale from its AHL affiliate in Binghamton. He will suit up Friday and is likely to replace struggling D Brian Lee. “We need solid, defensive play. We need (Hale) to play the way he did in the pre-season,” said Clouston. “He has some experience. This shouldn’t be new to him. If he’s a safe, solid defensive defenceman, we’ll be happy.” C Zack Smith, a healthy scratch the past two games, was sent to the Baby Sens.

BLACK AND BLUE REPORT

There was a scary moment in practice when D Sergei Gonchar took a shot off the back of his left leg and left the ice immediately before limping down the hallway in obvious pain. Everybody breathed a sigh of relief when Gonchar returned 15 minutes later. Clouston said the Senators’ prized off-season signing will play Friday ... C Jason Spezza, who was troubled by a sore groin in training camp, wasn’t on the ice. He took a maintenance day, but will be fine to suit up on the weekend. “We don’t want him in and out of the lineup. We just wanted to give him an extra day to make sure he is healthy,” said Clouston ... D Filip Kuba, recovering from a broken leg he suffered in training camp, was on the ice for a quick skate in a track suit before the rest of the players went out for practice. Kuba has made strides in his recovery. His next step is to practise with the rest of the team ... GM Bryan Murray said G Pascal Leclaire (groin) could skate on Thursday.

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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