Boucher pushes Sens to shoot puck more
Coach says team has potential for greater offence, but gets caught up making pretty plays
OTTAWA— Guy Boucher has a simple message for his players: Shoot the puck.
The Ottawa Senators coach has no complaints about his team’s overall performance, but knows the potential is there for greater offence.
After 11 games, the Senators (7-4-0) have scored just 29 goals. Ottawa had 18 goals over its first five games, but has just 11 in its last six.
Boucher’s challenge is to get his players to make the change from a pass-first mindset so they can get more shots on net.
“Good players, they want to make plays and most goals are ugly goals,” said Boucher.
“It’s not in their natural nature to not look for plays . . . we put the majority of our effort, since the beginning of the year, in having a defensive structure and being better individually defensively. “Now we have to spend more time on power play and our offence.”
Kyle Turris leads the Senators with five goals. Mike Hoffman and Bobby Ryan have three each while Mark Stone and Derick Brassard have scored just one goal apiece.
Brassard, who was acquired from the New York Rangers in the offseason, knows it can take time to find a rhythm with new players.
“A lot of times I’m on the ice and if I see (Erik Karlsson) or one of the guys obviously, my first thinking is ‘I don’t want to be selfish, I want to make the right play,’ ” he said.
“Maybe that’s the way I’m thinking right now. I’ve talked to some former players and they say sometimes it takes 20 games just to feel really comfortable out there and make the right play and passing on any shots and stuff like that.
“I’m still happy we win the games, but I know I can bring a lot more.”
Ryan, who has played alongside Brassard for most games, admits a need for keeping things simple.
“Being offensive everyone wants to create that pretty play,” said Ryan.
“Our line in general passed up on some shots trying to make some plays. We talk about the odds and more often than not it’s going to be an ugly one than it’s going to be a highlight-reel (goal) so sometimes it’s just about getting back to basics.”
Craig Anderson will get the start for the Senators on Tuesday in Nashville. Boucher said he would wait before making a decision on his starting goaltender for Wednesday’s game in Buffalo.