Senators sign RFA White to six-year deal
D.J. Smith is planning to lean on veteran players for leadership on the Ottawa Senators this season.
Smith told Postmedia that the Senators will not have a captain this season and instead, three 'older players' will serve as alternates.
“I don’t think it’s necessary (to have a captain),” Smith said in an interview. “We’re going to have three ‘A’’s, three older guys and they’re going to share the responsibility. A year from now it would be nice to integrate some of these younger guys and kind of get a look as to see who’s the captain and who’s going to be the captain going forward.
“The older guys will carry the brunt for the year.”
Ottawa did not have a captain last season after trading Erik Karlsson to the San Jose Sharks before training camp opened. Smith said he will lean heavily on the three players who wear the A's this season.
“Tons … they’re an extension of the coaching staff, they have to be,” Smith said. “We have to be on the same page. I have to push them and they need to be pushed as well, but in saying that they need to lead the way for these young kids.
“They need to be taught how it’s in the NHL: How you work, you be a pro in practice and how you train off the ice. We’ve done a really nice job of bringing in some guys with the complement of the players that are here. The message is clear: We want structure, we want detail and we want to create a culture where everybody is going to push each other. These older guys will be great for us.”
The first-year head coach mentioned free agent addition Ron Hainsey as a leadership option last month to TSN Radio Ottawa 1200.
“I think we’re set with what we’re going to do,” Smith said at the time. “I want to talk to the players so I’m not going to say it, but I’d like the older guys to field the brunt for this year and let these young guys just play and get better. It will their team in time but they have to watch how it’s done and I think we bring a guy in like Ron Hainsey, that’s been around the league, played 1,050 games, he’s going to have to field some of the tough questions on the games where maybe we’re not great.
“I don’t want a young kid doing that and these young kids are going to learn from him so that when it’s their time to take over, they’ll be ready.”