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Sens' Joseph scores twice, draws praise from Smith amid trade rumours


MONTREAL — Mathieu Joseph sure seems like a player Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith wants to keep around.

Joseph scored twice in Wednesday's 4-3 loss to the Canadiens in an NHL pre-season action game, with Montreal's Cole Caulfield scoring the game-winning goal.

"Joe continues to be good day after day whether it's camp or games," said Smith, who singled out the 26-year-old winger unprompted. "I think he's just working and he's playing hockey and he's having fun and he's thinking a lot less.

"I think he's just coming here and he's doing what he does. That's work, a couple have gone in for him, but every shift he's just playing hockey."

Down 2-0, Ottawa scored three unanswered goals in the second period.

The last two were Joseph's, whose name has circulated in trade rumours this week with the Senators needing salary cap space to sign restricted free agent Shane Pinto.

Joseph carries a $2.95-million cap hit for three more years and scored just three goals in 56 games last season. He says he’s focused on his play, instead of the speculation.

“I’m a guy who shows up every day, no matter what,” he said. “I didn’t look at what was going on, and I haven’t really heard what they’re saying about our team, it’s really out of my control.

“So I show up to the arena every day, I work as hard as I can, and I try to win for the team whose jersey I’m wearing.”

Joseph posted three goals and 18 points in 56 games last season, his second with the Senators. He was acquired by Ottawa from the Tampa Bay Lightning ahead of the trade deadline in 2022 as part of their return for Nick Paul.