Brassard says there’s no excuse for the Senators’ start to the season

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SAN JOSE — Derick Brassard is well aware that people don’t want to hear excuses.

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After an offseason that saw general manager Pierre Dorion make significant roster changes, the Senators were unable to live up to expectations of battling for a playoff berth and, as a result, the fingers are pointed in all directions. .

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It was the year the Senators were supposed to turn the corner, but they opened their game against the San Jose Sharks Monday at SAP Center with a 6-10-1 record.

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« It’s a learning process and we still have very young players, but people don’t want to hear that anymore, » Brassard told this newspaper before facing the Sharks. “They are no longer rookie guys and it is our job as core leadership players to make sure everyone is on the same page. You have to play with the little details that are important for us to win games.

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« I feel like we’re just a little behind with those details. We have to make sure we have good changes, not stay on the ice for long and make sure we do the right things at the right times of the day. As for the rest, we try, we work and we compete and we’re there, it’s just those little details that are missing.

There aren’t many scenarios Brassard hasn’t faced in his 16-year NHL career.

The Senators center has had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, so he knows the club’s early-season struggles as they embark on this four-game tour are nothing short of new.

“There were some really close games and we lost them by one goal, and sometimes you can get really discouraged,” Brassard said. « We can’t let this affect us. We know right now that we’re in a battle to get back in the standings, get back to our game.

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« We show flashes but we just have to do it every game, but it’s quite difficult. »

Brassard, 35, has faced adversity before and knows it has been difficult for this team to live up to expectations. He said it would be easy for the club to make rash decisions and make changes, but he is confident this group can raise the bar under coach DJ Smith.

Brassard said the answers have to come from within because this team should have a better record and aim for a playoff spot.

« We’re trying to find ways to improve our game, » Brassard said. » We are not far. I saw it during my days at Columbus where we had a different coach every year and they were always looking for a different option. They understood that in Columbus after years it was not training.

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« That’s when things changed when they started to rebuild thanks to younger guys like Boone Jenner, who’s still there and he’s the captain. It’s us in the locker room who have to find a way. That’s one thing, if you’re fighting, that’s where you’re frustrated. Sometimes over the past month, I feel like we’ve been fighting. We just have to stick together here.

The pressure in Ottawa is very different than it has been since this team began rebuilding midway through the 2017-18 season. The club missed the playoffs five straight years and there was confidence that this would be the year the club would challenge.

The Senators feel they should be better than their record. Yes, Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils at home was their worst showing of the season but, for the most part, they’ve been in every game and haven’t been able to cross the line of arrival.

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Brassard, who played 963 games in his NHL career, said no one was happy with the Senators’ position heading into the game against the Sharks.

“We are all working together with the staff to try to improve,” Brassard said. « Honestly, nobody likes the position we’re in right now. But we’ve been good and we’re trying to keep our spirits up. If everything was negative every day, it’s a toxic environment and we don’t. .

“We are trying to find solutions. Sunday morning was a great example, we had a long meeting to try to improve our game and try to find different areas where we can be better. We have a good squad, we have a lot of talent and our work ethic needs to be there in every game for us to have a chance to improve.

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Brassard knows the fans want more from the Senators and they’re trying to do it.

« The fans have been waiting for this moment since 2017 where we pushed and they’ve been patient with this team, » Brassard said. « They have a right to comment and we take that to heart when we hear our fans are unhappy.

“We try to win games and we do our best here. We are all in the same boat. It’s not about criticizing a guy or the coach or anything, it’s everyone. It’s pretty clear that the membership is there.

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