Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after his team’s 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators in the fourth game of the exhibition season.
On the special teams contributions:
It is really important. It is what this time of year is for. With the way we put the lineups together, we knew it was going to create those opportunities for players. You want to give them that chance.
A big power-play goal for us. I didn’t think the power play was very good for us in the third period at a time when it could’ve put the game away for us, but certainly, the penalty killing did a really nice job. That is a big reason why we are in the game, hanging around, and competing with a chance to win it.
On Pierre Engvall’s preseason debut:
It is nice to get him in. When you are in camp and you are a guy that is competing for ice time or your spot in the lineup, it is tough to be out while other guys are out playing and competing and showing themselves. To have him get back to health to the point that he could play today was big for him and for us.
It was good to see him. A big guy who skates like that always brings something to the lineup. It was important for us to have that other presence.
On Rasmus Sandin’s contributions in 20+ minutes of ice time:
Muzzin and Dermott were both supposed to play tonight in this lineup, and we had to make some last-minute changes. It creates some other opportunities for guys. Rasmus is one that I thought not only did his minutes change but his matchups changed because he is playing against their best players all of the time. He killed penalties very well tonight. I thought it was a really strong effort.
On Josh Ho-Sang’s efforts away from the puck:
I think he has been good in that area. You can tell he is really trying hard to be good in those areas.
I think as we have come into this week here, things have gotten tougher. Today was the toughest game we have played to this point in terms of the roster we played against. That is, by and large, an NHL team over there. They were only missing a few guys. Generally, the majority of their players are in the game.
The competition is getting tougher, and also, the camp is starting to get tough. We have been through a lot here. The guys have worked hard. I think Josh is not playing at the same level now as he was last week, so that has been a little bit tougher for him.
The work that he has put in, the attitude that he has had, and the approach that he has taken all the way through this — I have been very impressed with him. That has been very positive to see for a guy who is coming in and looking to get a chance here.
On the decision to keep a bigger group at camp until the middle of the week:
The biggest thing: You want to have full groups for practice. It is really difficult when you have a team and a half. It is tough to run a functional practice. Keeping two groups is really important in order to do that so you can maximize every day. This back-to-back that we have right here — this being later in the schedule — is in itself a reason why you want to keep more guys around.
We will play some guys tomorrow in our second game, but for the most part, you don’t want to play guys that you are counting on a lot. They are established veteran players. You don’t want to be playing them in a back-to-back unnecessarily here. Having more players around made a lot of sense for those reasons.
On Dermott and Muzzin’s status:
Nothing serious at all. They are both going to be day-to-day. Dermott took warmup today, was expected to play, and then just wasn’t good enough to go. He didn’t play. With both, we are expecting them to bounce back.