Recapping the Season Ending Interviews

It’s locker room clean out day, aka “Garbage Bag Day” for the Ottawa Senators. The players and DJ Smith each had one last media availability for the season today before going their separate ways for the summer, though Pierre Dorion won’t speak until Monday.

  • Nick Holden will not be back with the Ottawa Senators, but will test free agency.
  • Austin Watson was playing with a broken foot since early March, and only shut things down once the team was eliminated against Florida. He met with Dorion this morning – it is possible he’ll be back in Ottawa next season, but he’s hoping to get a multi-year deal either here or somewhere else.
  • Alex DeBrincat played his cards close to his chest with nothing decided. He will be spending some time figuring things out with his agent and family, but as of now is open to discussion on a long term contract – read into that as much or as little as you want. Commenting on his play, he said he struggled to find the line between playing the system and playing his game at the start of the season but felt he became more consistent towards the end of the season.
  • Travis Hamonic injured his meniscus and MCL late in the season, and says he would have tried to tape it up for the playoffs if the team had qualified. His future in Ottawa is also unknown, though he has plenty of praise for Ottawa (the city and the team) and hopes to be back. He also pumped up Jake Sanderson, saying he should win the Calder this year.

“Ottawa is a unique place. It’s a big city, nations capital, but it has a small town feel…off the ice it’s been a great spot & on the ice, how could anyone not want to be a part of the Senators? The young players have taken huge steps. I’d like to be back,” – Travis Hamonic

  • Jakob Chychrun was looking forward to next season saying the “sky is the limit”, and had plenty of praise for how quickly the group accepted him here after the trade. He was close to returning to the lineup, so he should have a full summer of training.
  • Josh Norris provided an injury update, saying his rehab is going well. He expects to be back on the ice for training in a month or so.
  • Drake Batherson had praise for the fan base, with the energy returning to the building and the city this season. He wants to clean up his (team worst) plus/minus for next season, saying it is “no fun to look at”.
  • Tim Stützle credited DJ Smith for his growth as a player, saying none of the young players would be where they are without Smith. He has not decided on if he will go to the World Championships yet. He heaped praise on his line mates, but also mixed in some good-natured jabs at them – saying that Tkachuck changed last summer (“He got really funny over the summer, he wasn’t that funny before”), and commenting about how he hates to see Giroux win (when they compete with each other) because of the chirping that follows.
  • Erik Brannstrom was happier with the second half of his season than the first half, saying that he “proved [he] can play.”
  • Anton Forsberg expects to be back on the ice in full gear in July, and to be 100% for the start of the season.
  • Claude Giroux talked about the steps forward the team took but showed some frustration at not being in the playoffs saying the team was good enough to make it, they just need to be consistent. Despite Stützle’s little jab, Giroux only had praise for his young line mate, calling him a super star.
  • Shane Pinto was happy to be able to play all 82 games this season. He felt facing mostly 2nd line opposition this past season was a good learning experience and will make him a better player next season.
  • Jake Sanderson intends to “bulk up” over the summer, but only a little because he doesn’t want to lose any speed because of it. When asked about Hamonic’s comments about the Calder, Sanderson said the only trophy he wants is the Stanley Cup.
  • Brady Tkachuk is done with being done in April. The captain heaped praise on Giroux, both his play and the leadership experience he has brought to the team. He also echoed Stützle’s comments on DJ Smith, saying that he believes Smith is the coach for them. He’s heading to Florida to support his brother – individually. Between the Sens coming close and Matthew being in the same division this season he says it is different this year, so don’t expect to see Brady in the stands cheering on Florida like he did last year in Calgary.
  • Thomas Chabot provided a bit more information on his injury, saying he tore a ligament and fractured a bone in his wrist. Playing in a home stretch where the games still mattered was the most fun he thinks they’ve had as a group, but “it sucks” going into the summer with the taste in their mouths of just missing the playoffs.
  • Cam Talbot opened with “I wish I was able to do more”, saying he wasn’t able to stay healthy enough to make a big enough impact. On returning to Ottawa next season it was a “never say never” response, but he noted that Forsberg was signed for two more seasons and praised the play of Mads Søgaard down the stretch.
  • DJ Smith is fully aware that with the impending change of ownership his future with the team is uncertain, saying “All I can do is keep doing my job until they tell me I’m not doing my job.” Saying his job for the past four years has been to rebuild and develop the youth, but next year (“if I’m still around” – a qualifier he used several times) is to make the playoffs.

The TSN1200 has the audio from all of today’s media availabilities, plus a direct interview with Smith.

World Championships

A frequent question is always who is or isn’t going to the World Championships. As it stands, no Senators players confirmed they were attending, with only Tim Stützle seeming to leave the possibility open. DJ Smith will be joining Team Canada as an assistant under André Tourigny.

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