OTTAWA - Paul MacLean found the best solution to getting out of a slump as a player was to drop the gloves.
The Senators coach stopped short of suggesting that would be the route for the struggling Bobby Butler to take if he wants to get out of his season-long slump, but it sure paid dividends for MacLean during his career.
“When I used to be like that I used to go out and get in a fight because that would get rid of some of the frustration, but I don’t know that Bobby’s going to do that. We don’t expect him to, right? I don’t want to set him up for that,” said MacLean.
If the Senators are going to halt their three-game losing skid Wednesday night against the Rangers, they need more production from everybody — especially Butler, who has yet to score a goal in the six games he’s played this season.
Troubled by a groin injury that slowed him down in training camp, Butler can’t complain he’s not getting a chance. He’s been on a line with Nick Foligno and Stephane Da Costa.
If Butler is going to contribute, he’s got to score.
“I’ve just got to keep playing and hope that one goes in,” Butler said following a 45-minute workout at Scotiabank Place. “Once one goes in, the confidence will come back right away. Until then, I’ve just got to keep working hard and making things happen.
“Hopefully, I can just help the team win whatever way I can help. Last year, I went through a couple of these droughts. You learn every time to get through them and try to go back to the basics. It comes and goes. If you’re hot, you’re hot.”
MacLean said Butler, who was awarded with a two-year, one-way, $2.15-million contract over the summer, arrived in Ottawa this season with big expectations after putting up 10 goals and 11 assists in 36 games with the Senators in 2010-11.
“Once you do it once it’s kind of expected that you’re going to do it again,” said MacLean. “That was the hardest thing I had to learn in my lifetime.
“I remember (teammate) Floyd Thompson when I was in Salt Lake City and I had just scored my 30th goal. Three people congratulated me and Floyd said, ‘Uh, now you’ve got to do it again. I’m going to expect it from you again next year.’ It scared me to death. That’s the reality. When you set a standard, that’s what you’re going to be measured by. Sometimes it’s hard to get back there.”
FILATOV SENT DOWN
The Senators sent RW Nikita Filatov back to their AHL affiliate in Binghamton Monday to see if he can get back on track. Filatov had only one assist in six games and the club needs to get more effort if he’s going to be a full-time NHL player. He has averaged 9:10 of ice time per game in Ottawa. “Nikita worked really hard and he’s a star in the AHL. It’s good for him and a great place for him to get confidence,” said MacLean, who didn’t rule out Filatov making a few trips between Ottawa and Binghamton this season. “When I talked to him (before he left), I told him I want that player here in Ottawa, but right now we’re not getting that player. When he comes up here, he gets a little bit tight and tentative and doesn’t do as much creatively with the puck.”
Colin Greening, who missed part of Saturday’s game against Buffalo after getting hit by Paul Gaustad, left midway through practice. There was no update.