With Duch­ene com­ing over via trade route, op­tions are fi­nite for the general man­ager

Ottawa Citizen - - SPORTS - BRUCE GAR­RIOCH bgar­rioch@post­ twit­­gar­rioch

As the Ot­tawa Sen­a­tors pre­pared to skate onto the ice at the Honda Cen­ter Wed­nes­day night, they spent the 48 hours since an ugly 5-0 loss to the Win­nipeg Jets search­ing for an­swers.

At this point, those are go­ing to have to come from within.

While the possibility of a mak­ing a deal to try to get this team go­ing on a con­sis­tent ba­sis is al­ways on the ta­ble, the re­al­ity is the op­tions are limited for general man­ager Pierre Do­rion. He al­ready made a big deal to get Matt Duch­ene from the Colorado Avalanche that has yet to have the de­sired im­pact.

Only the Buf­falo Sabres, Columbus Blue Jack­ets, Ed­mon­ton Oil­ers and San Jose Sharks are ac­tive in the trade mar­ket, which means there’s lit­tle for the Sen­a­tors to choose from even if they want to make an­other deal to shake up their team. At this point, the re­al­ity is few players are play­ing up to their po­ten­tial.

That’s why as the Sen­a­tors pre­pared to face the Anaheim Ducks to start their trip the Golden State, coach Guy Boucher spent time push­ing just about ev­ery but­ton pos­si­ble to try to get this team back on track be­cause the best-case sce­nario for ev­ery­body involved is the club gets back to play­ing up to their ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Look, Boucher is well aware the Sen­a­tors aren’t go­ing to win ev­ery game be­tween now and the end of the sea­son, but he wasn’t the least bit pleased with the ef­fort in Win­nipeg be­cause the players didn’t show up to even give them­selves a de­cent op­por­tu­nity to win the game.

If he saw that against the Ducks, then it was a step in the right di­rec­tion.

“Right now, I need to see our team’s des­per­a­tion,” Boucher said be­fore fac­ing the Ducks. “I saw it against the Is­lan­ders (in a 6-5 win Fri­day). I saw a team go­ing to war and it took ev­ery­thing to win, and that’s what an NHL game is.

“It doesn’t mat­ter who you play. It doesn’t mat­ter where you play them. Ev­ery NHL game you go into is a war be­cause ev­ery team can beat you and you can beat ev­ery team. When you don’t ap­proach it that way, you have zero chance.

“If we want to have a chance to beat a phys­i­cal, tough team at home, we have to give our­selves a chance and that chance is to come out with a bat­tling men­tal­ity and be­ing des­per­ate and be­ing re­lent­less, and then we have a chance. It doesn’t mean we beat them, but we have a chance. That’s what we have to give our­selves, and that’s ev­ery player. It’s re­ally about the en­tire team show­ing up.”

The Sen­a­tors were suit­ing up for their 26th game of the sea­son and Boucher spent Tues­day at prac­tice in El Se­gundo, Calif., crack­ing the whip and go­ing over ex­actly the way he wants the club to ap­proach each game.

Does it bother Boucher that at this point of the sea­son he’s still por­ing over the de­tails?

“No, be­cause you’re al­ways look­ing for this,” Boucher said. “That’s the job of a coach and you talk to ev­ery coach in the league, and they’ll tell you that’s what they look for and ev­ery part of the sea­son.

“It’s a nor­mal process and some weeks and some months are great be­cause for what­ever rea­son things are rolling, goals are go­ing in, goal­tend­ing’s great and all of a sud­den you hit a few patches and whoops — the con­fi­dence gets a lit­tle lower and you’ve got to start back again. I al­ways say (the) NHL is a race be­tween Fer­raris: If you’re a lit­tle off, that’s a lot, and that’s why we can’t be a lit­tle off.”

There’s no ques­tion the Sen­a­tors faced a lot of ad­ver­sity last year, when top goalie Craig An­der­son left the team for per­sonal leave to be with his wife Ni­cholle while she had treat­ment for a rare form of throat can­cer for two months and the club lost winger Clarke MacArthur for most of the sea­son with a con­cus­sion.

With a 1-7-1 record in nine games head­ing into Wed­nes­day’s match, Boucher doesn’t feel like this is the most dif­fi­cult stretch of his ten­ure with the team.

“It looks like that from the out­side, but from the inside, there was a lot tougher things,” Boucher said. “Right now, there’s a lot of things we’re man­ag­ing at the same time, but we’ve had a enough good games that we’ve lost so that we know that we’re right there.”

Now, the Sen­a­tors need to start putting vic­to­ries in the win col­umn.

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