The six members of the Ottawa Senators organization who tested positive for the coronavirus, including two players, have recovered, according to coach D.J. Smith.
“And they’re all on the other side now. … I think it is important that you see that this disease spares no one … actors and actresses, rich, poor, you must make sure that you stay safe, and I am really happy that all those who were involved in our organization and on this plane (during a three-game trip through California from March 7 to 11) are doing well.
“But certainly, a scary time. … It struck us, but at the same time, we probably saved a lot of us too. … We probably jumped a bit about this. “
The Senators played the last NHL game before the season ended on March 12 due to concerns over the coronavirus, a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Kings on March 11.
“The guys knew that an NBA player was positive that afternoon, or around 5 am, but we were west [Coast], we were ahead, “said Smith, who is in his first season as an NHL coach. And we were wondering if we were going to play. … It was definitely a different atmosphere from any other game I have participated in. We just waited for the leadership of the League. “
Senators 25-34-12, seventh in Atlantic, but Smith said he was optimistic they would finish strong if the season started and start the off season by feeling good about themselves, especially outside of their game at the Canadian Tire Center, where Ottawa is 18-13-6.
“I hope we can get out of the house and go back to work and joke with the guys,” said Smith. “We want to end on the right note and finish with the message of how we are going to work to the end, to the latest buzzer, and give fans what they deserve. I think this season at home, they could see how hard we played and we wanted to play hard until the end. So certainly I want to come back.
“But we’re just going to listen to advice from the NHL. We’re going to play hockey at some point, it’s just a matter of timing. “
The Senators have not identified players who test positive for the coronavirus.
Smith said he can’t wait to see players like the 20-year-old forward Brady Tkachuk, 23 year old defender Thomas chabot and center of 23 years Colin White continue to develop when Ottawa starts playing again.
The Senators will need to return with a positive frame of mind, he said, in order to improve and return to the Stanley Cup playoffs; they haven’t qualified for the playoffs since 2016-2017, when they lost to potential champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins, after game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals.
“Our mindset needs to change,” said Smith. “It is time for us to take a step, and how big it is, we will find out. But we want to take a step, certainly mentally, and it’s with the Tkachuks and the Chabots and the Whites and these guys, so that when you look at the best teams in the League, the Washington Capitals, the Bruins Boston, when they arrive in the arena, they expect to win every night.
“There is a difference between hoping and knowing that you can win every night, and with as many good young players as we have and all the draft choices we have, we are going to be one of those teams.” Everyone wants it sooner or later. ”