Ottawa Senators eager to rejoin the fray following a frustrating COVID-19 pause

The Ottawa Senators are likely getting sick of one another.

Good news! The good news? They aren’t even sick.

The Senators have just one game in their COVID-19 season. This will be the Calgary Flames’ second game.

After a recent practice, Zach Sanford from Ottawa said it was becoming a bit old. “You play the game to win games and compete.

“If you don’t have that opportunity, you are missing a lot of what you do.”

The Senators have suited up for just 29 games this season — only the New York Islanders (28) have played fewer contests — thanks to outbreaks, the NHL’s extended holiday pause in response to the Omicron variant, and postponements related to attendance restrictions in some Canadian markets, including their own.

Ottawa has had 14 games cancelled since the middle November. Only one game has been rescheduled.

While some of the remaining 13 players will be forced to fit into what was to be the league’s Olympic window, February, it seems that the other players could be part of a reorganization of the NHL calendar.

Ottawa lost 6-0 against the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Jan. 1, when they were without six players due to COVID-19 protocol. This was the Senators’ only game for the past 25 days. The shutdown was then followed by more delays.

D.J. Smith, head coach said it was difficult for everyone. Smith agreed. Smith said, “It’s unfortunate for our group who played through.” [some of its November outbreak]. I don’t know how many of our opponents we had, but we lost a lot. We’re now healthy and we miss all the games against losing teams.

“It’s frustrating.”

WATCH: Senators are beaten by Maple Leafs in their lone game since the break.| Senators throttled by Maple Leafs in lone game since break:

Two shorthanded goals propels the Leafs past the Sens.

Jack Campbell was able to record his fourth shutout as the Leafs defeated the Sens 6-0. 2:01

The fourth game of Ottawa’s five-game road trip was scheduled for Thursday in Calgary. However, it will now be Ottawa’s opener. The Oilers will now host the Senators on Saturday — a night when Ottawa was supposed to be in Winnipeg.

Austin Watson, Senators forward, stated that you don’t know when the next game will be played. “You just need to be a bit open-minded.” There’s professionalism and it can be challenged when times are like these.

“Normal years, there’s something to it — being a pro in the league — but right now especially, being able to maintain your quality of work, your detail and your energy on a day-to-day basis when you have no idea when you might play again, it’s testing guys.”

Smith was pleased with the intensity of his team’s Alberta practices. Ottawa had arrived in Edmonton with an expectation to play Monday. Smith was also happy to see Connor McDavid and other Oilers participate in COVID-19 protocol.

Smith spoke out about recent on-ice sessions, saying that she tried to create a bit of competition. “But it’s hard. It’s important to have fun. You have to bang into people.”

Watson stated, “We adjust on-the-fly.” Watson said that it can be exhausting to not play for as long.

Thursday will be their last chance.

Smith stated, “We understand the situation.” It’s difficult on the league, but it’s hard for everyone.

“We just want play.”

Allen’s reality-check

Montreal Canadiens is another team returning from a long hiatus.

After a poor start to the season, which was attributed to injuries and poor play, the club boasted an amazing 24 COVID-19 protocol players as of last weekend.

In reality, the Stanley Cup’s unexpected finalists from last season are already playing out the string.

Jake Allen is aware of it, but the goaltender still believes that the games still have a lot of weight.

He said, “We all know where our standings are,” before Montreal returned to action Wednesday night at Boston. “We need to see things from a realistic perspective… What are our goals?

“We have to instill some [good] habits.”

Montreal has been impacted by COVID-19 for 10 games so far in 2021-22.

Allen said, referring to Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki, “We have to try building something here with some young guys.” “We have to take out this season positive things that will help this team. [and] organization going into next year.

“That’s going be the biggest mantra.”

Malkin ties Mario in return

Evgenimalkin, the Penguins’ star, scored twice in his second return from off-season knee surgery. He was part of Pittsburgh’s 4-1 win over Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.

Malkin’s game-winning goal was his 74th career goal to tie Mario Lemieux, who is second in franchise history behind Jaromir Jagr (78).

Pittsburgh has won 11 out of 12 games in its last 12 games and is now the Eastern Conference’s first wild card spot.

Flames get wake-up call

After missing the playoffs last season, the Calgary Flames are one of the NHL’s biggest surprises. They have the sixth-best West points percentage.

They also learned a lot about the next level.

Still finding their legs after a massive COVID-19 shutdown, the Flames dropped recent road games against the Florida Panthers (6-2), Tampa Bay Lightning (4-1) and Carolina Hurricanes (6-3) — three of the East’s powerhouses.

Milan Lucic, winger, said that “if you look at it as a positive we know what level need to reach.” “We know where we need to push, and what level of play we must reach if our goal is to be like these teams.”

Like the Senators, the Flames have gotten sick of practising, and will play Calgary’s first game for almost a week Thursday.

Lucic said, “It almost feels as if we’re in the third training camp.” But you have to look at the positives. It’s important to keep looking forward to improving every day.

“It’s a great time to reset… It’s a great time to get worse.”