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Tkachuk 'disappointed' in season, but says Sens must play for pride

Ottawa Senators' Brady Tkachuk Ottawa Senators' Brady Tkachuk - The Canadian Press

The Ottawa Senators will miss the playoffs for the sixth straight year since captain Brady Tkachuk joined the team in 2018 – and seventh overall this year. 

While Tkachuk is not happy to be missing the postseason once again, the 24-year-old forward is calling on the team to play for pride over their final stretch. 

“Absolutely. It’s been tough and it’s been frustrating,” Tkachuk told Postmedia on Monday. “Of course, we expected to be in a different spot than we are. I’m not going to lie to you, I’m disappointed, I don’t know if that’s the right word because there’s a lot of words to describe what we’re in right now.

“But, like I said, it’s going to show character and who you are right down to the core for these last 20 games. We have to show the effort and represent this amazing city that I love playing for.”

The Senators are winless in their past seven games entering Tuesday's matchup with the struggling Pittsburgh Penguins (available to viewers in the Senators region on TSN5 at 7 p.m. ET)

Ottawa enters Tuesday's game sitting tied for last in the Eastern Conference, 18 points back of the final wild-card spot after 62 games played. Tkachuk said it’s important for the Senators to keep a strong mindset as the team finishes out another down year. 

“Positivity. You can’t do anything about what’s already happened,” said Tkachuk. “It’s over and done with. These are moments you have to learn from. It’s going to show how we play for the logo, the pride that we have and what we’ve preached the last few years about never giving up no matter what the outcome of the game.

“These last 20 games are going to show that.”

While there is plenty of uncertainty for the Senators this off-season as president and general manager Steve Staios looks to put his stamp on the team, Tkachuk's future is not in doubt.

Tkachuk is signed through the 2027-28 season at a cap hit of $8.21 million and Staios laughed off a report last month that Tkachuk could be moved.

"That could not be further from the truth," Staios told the Got Yer Back podcast with TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun and Ryan Rishaug. "I don't follow on social media, our communications people alert me to things like that. There's obviously no truth to that. We're building this team around Brady Tkachuk and the type of person and the type of player and the type of leader that he is. He means everything to the organization, and he brings it every night along with our core group of players.

"It's a matter of time and it's a matter of nurturing this group. I think when I talk about bringing in veteran players, it's really to support this young group and to support Brady, and Tim [Stutzle] and the rest of the group. Claude Giroux's done a phenomenal job of that, but you could always use [more of] those guys. We're the fifth-youngest team in the league. Say we're three years younger than these Stanley Cup-contending types of teams, but it's three years younger across the board, so that adds up to a lot of years and a lot of games played.

"Certainly, Brady is the leader that we need in this room. He is everything as advertised and I'm just looking to do my best to support him."