As practice wrapped up at Scotiabank Place Tuesday, the Senators went for a 10-minute skate without pucks under the watchful eye of coach Cory Clouston.
A little hard work never hurt anyone — something that seems to have escaped the Senators of late, especially during their 4-1 loss to the rebuilding Oilers on Monday night at Scotiabank Place.
Clouston can’t understand why his club — losers in six of its last eight games — took the Oilers lightly, but he’s convinced that’s what happened.
Where does the complacency come from? The Senators haven’t won two games in a row since they won four straight from Nov. 2-9.
They don’t have the right to think they’re better than anyone.
“I don’t know. It’s a good question,” said Clouston. “We have no reason to be complacent. We have no reason to think we can just go out there, and I don’t want to say go through the motions, but not play our best and come our way with two points.
“Any team in this league is capable of beating anybody and right now we should be more concerned with making sure that we’re out there playing a 60-minute game as opposed to thinking we can afford to have a shift off, let alone a period off.”
Clouston said the Senators aren’t as bad as their sub-.500 record, but they’ve got to start playing better soon or risk falling out of the playoff race altogether.
“We’ve just got to go out and work,” said defenceman Chris Campoli. “You’ve got to work hard and compete. That’s first and foremost. We’re not doing that either.
“The consistency isn’t there. The good teams are consistent. If they lose one, they win two. We’re just up and down. I thought overall, at times, the work ethic hasn’t been where we need it to be consistently.”
Nobody seems to have an answer to why it’s happening.
“We’re not where we want to be and we haven’t played up to our potential,” said centre Mike Fisher. “We’ve just got to get back to playing together, being a good team and there’s more in the tank for a lot of players, individually. When we bring more, we’ll be better.
“We struggled with consistency parts of last (season). We’ve got to find it within our group. We’ve got to look in the mirror and just start to do it. We talk about it all the time, but we’ve got to do it on the ice.”
The answers are going to have to come from within if the Senators are going to keep this group together. GM Bryan Murray took a rare day off from facing the media, but if the team’s malaise keeps up, changes will have to be made.
Owner Eugene Melnyk threw his support behind Murray and Clouston when he was in town last Saturday.
The Senators could use a scoring forward (who couldn’t?) and Murray has been working the phones.
“We try and do too much at times,” said defenceman Chris Phillips. “It’s because guys care and they want to make a difference, but that’s not what brings success.”