OTTAWA | Brady Tkachuk was part of the first group of Senators to take to the ice at the Canadian Tire Center on Thursday. As he has done since being named team captain, he has led by example.
That's exactly what his head coach, D.J. Smith, wanted from him and the other players. Tkachuk led the way for his group by participating in the drills with intensity. He skated hard like he was on the eve of the playoffs.
Even though it was his first official practice of the season, he expressed his displeasure after a missed pass or throw. The word f… has been heard a few times.
Tkachuk proved he still had his scoring touch.
During a three-way run with Josh Norris and Drake Batherson, he beat Quebec goaltender Antoine Bibeau with a wrist shot in the skylight. A beautiful goal.
A winning trio
We often talk about his character and his robust game, but we forget that he has excellent hands. He did not score 30 goals by chance last season.
“It was fun to get back on the ice with my teammates,” Tkachuk said during a press scrum after his two practices. During camp, I want to focus on improving myself every day.
He was happy to have Norris and Batherson on his side.
“It’s easy to play with them. Our chemistry is still there. It is easy to find on the ice rink. I had fun playing games and scoring a few goals with them. »
Building a winning culture
Reconstruction is complete in Ottawa. All hopes are allowed with the acquisitions of the last few months. General Manager Pierre Dorion and Smith want to take their roster to the next level.
While Dorion spoke about the goal of playing meaningful games until the end of the year, the coach -chef wishes to establish a winning culture after several lean seasons in the federal capital.
A message that has not fallen on deaf ears.
“Having a winning culture is about pushing yourself and helping your teammates push their limits. , Tkachuk pointed out. Today [Thursday], we got a glimpse of it during a 1v1 exercise.
“We saw players who did not hesitate to play physically to obtain the washer. They wanted to push their teammates to the next level. »
Learning from Giroux
In addition, his leadership will be supported by Quebecer Thomas Chabot and veteran Claude Giroux who will be his assistants. This is not to be overlooked when a team has important objectives.
“Claude is known for his achievements during his career. He was a captain for several years [with the Philadelphia Flyers]. I am lucky to be the captain from day one and to have the opportunity to learn from his past experiences.
“In the locker room, I expect him to say the right things at the right time. I am convinced that he will show the right path for our team.
A different start to camp
At this time last year, Tkachuk was at home. He couldn't agree on a new contract with the Senators.
He missed a large portion of training camp before agreeing to a seven-year, 57.5 pact million $.
This time, he started the campaign at the same time as his teammates. According to him, his coach's approach to camp is no different from last season.
“It's pretty much similar to last year,” Tkachuk said. We have to work hard so that we are ready for the games as soon as possible. »
In the notebook…
Alex Formentonis the only notable absentee in the camp of the Senators. The unrestricted free agent is still looking for a new contract. With the new acquisitions of his team, his balance of power is not very good. General manager Pierre Dorion has confirmed that discussions are continuing with the clan of the 23-year-old winger. However, there has not been much progress in the past few days. Ottawa has $5.6 million leeway to reach an agreement with Formenton.
Speaking of Dorion, he took advantage of the first practices to come and greet members of the media in the stands. He discussed baseball with some of them, including Aaron Judge's home run record. The general manager was in good spirits and can't wait for the regular season to begin.
The Senators players took to the ice and the intensity was on. Head Coach D.J. Smith wanted a commitment from his men from the start and he got it. “The guys are in good physical condition,” Smith said. We managed to do what we wanted. Since they had been skating for several weeks, it was easier for them to push the machine,” he said.
The Senators listen to their players. In addition to making some changes to the locker room, they hired a chef for post-game meals. They want their athletes to eat well so that they are able to maintain their energy levels through a very busy schedule.