December 13, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
THE award for the best description of Saturday's NHL season-opening game between the Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets goes to Senators coach Paul MacLean.
"I thought the game was played a little bit like a dog's breakfast in the first and second period," MacLean said "In the third, I thought we were able to get control of the game a little bit, establish a little bit more of our game and the power play scored a timely goal to give us a two-goal lead.
"I thought... the best part of the game for us was the third period."
There's no category for dog's breakfast in the league standings, but the Sens have a win there nonetheless, 4-1 over the disorganized Jets at the MTS Centre.
After a rushed, post-lockout training camp in 30 cities, the teams here Saturday clearly showed they hadn't played any exhibition games.
And needed to.
"It was kind of all over the place," said MacLean, the former Jets winger for seven seasons. "At times we were good, but at times we have to come to expect here, early in the season, that things are going to be like that.
"As the game went on, we got a little bit better and did things better but again, we still have to get better than we were if we'll continue to win."
Ottawa is into a new season after a resurgence in 2011-12, one that saw them take the New York Rangers to seven games in the first round of the playoffs.
And to start off with a win is really all that mattered, style aside.
"The only thing we did was take too many penalties and I think that's part of being (at the start) of the season and not having a full training camp," MacLean said of his team's six minors. "The penalties we took were with sticks and we've got to get away from that kind of stuff.
"At the same time, our penalty-killers did a good job and our goaltender was very good. He brought his buddies (posts) with him in the first period. It helped him a lot, I think."
Quietly, the Jets have changed their "official" leadership group.
Andrew Ladd remains the team captain but for Saturday's opener, centre Olli Jokinen and defenceman Mark Stuart wore the "A's" as alternate captains.
Toby Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien, alternate captains last season, were letter-less on Saturday.
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 20, 2013 B2