Boucher pushes Sens to shoot puck more

Coach says team has po­ten­tial for greater of­fence, but gets caught up mak­ing pretty plays

Toronto Star - - SPORTS - LISA WAL­LACE

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.

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