Three questions with Ottawa Senators blog Silver Seven

When Paul MacLean talks, players listen (or at least the ones over 20). - USA TODAY Sports

The Lightning continue their tour of the Great White North this weekend with a 2pm game at Ottawa's Scotiabank Place. We asked three questions of Peter Raaymakers, Managing Editor of SBNation's Senators blog Silver Seven to get his take on what makes Paul MacLean so good, when Spezza and Anderson might return to action, and how Sens fans are so very different from those in Toronto and Montreal, despite geography. Thanks to Peter for take the time to tell us about the Ottawa club.

1) The Senators resilience to keep winning despite a series of catastrophic injuries this season, has put Paul MacLean's name at the top of the list for the Adams Award nominations. Tell us something about MacLean's coaching style, system or sensibilities that we wouldn't likely know without following the Senators as closely as you do.

I'm not sure what perceptions about Paul MacLean are common outside of Ottawa, but I'll underline one skill that players and team management have routinely praised him for: Communication. Leaders on the team, including Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza, cited his incredible ability to speak directly and respectfully with the team and to outline exactly what role each player should fill within his system is incredible, and a welcome change from his predecessor Cory Clouston (who was a bit more of a taskmaster). That's not something that's necessarily part of his on-ice system, but it's a big part of his success so far from what I can tell.

2) What's the word on the return of Jason Spezza and Craig Anderson from injury? It's been a while for both of them - what's your take on when they might be back? Any other imminent returns that will impact the lineup more than any trade deadline deal could possibly achieve?

It's unclear at this point what the timelines are, but both are expected back soon. Anderson was originally day-to-day, but his ankle injury turned out to be a high-ankle sprain, which are notoriously tough to predict; still, I think the timeline is short. As for Spezza, one week ago we heard he was maybe two weeks away, but there has been no update yet. So it's unclear on both fronts, although the expectation is that they should be back with games left in the regular season.


3) As fans of a Southeast Division team headed to join Ottawa and the rest of the Northeast Division teams next season, we'd like to hear what makes the Ottawa fans distinct from those of the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens? I've noticed just from twitter that you guys are definitely a more easy-going bunch. (Put another way: what is it about the fanbases or Toronto and Montreal that Lighting fans will also come to loathe, but shouldn't be applied to Sens fans just because of geographic proximity?)

I feel like there's a sense of entitlement in Montreal and Toronto due to their history in the league, and Ottawa certainly doesn't have that -- we're a small-market team that's come precariously close to relocation due to bankruptcy, so I feel like we can sympathize to some extent with other smaller-market and modern-day expansion teams. Plus we're all feeling pretty good about where our team is right now, in year two of a three-year rebuild plan, so there isn't much aggressiveness that tends to come from feelings of inferiority (which Leafs fans definitely have, and Habs fans have some of, too).

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