Matt Gilroy slowly getting comfortable in new surroundings

MONTREAL – Defenceman Matt Gilroy, acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning at the trade deadline, is finally getting a chance to see Ottawa, not just Kanata.
He also pretty well knows everyone’s name, as well, so that is making him feel more comfortable.
“There are still some things to learn and pick up on, like learning guys’ tendencies out on the ice, but it’s going in the right direction,” he said.
“The coaching staff and the guys in the locker room have been more than helpful in easing the transition, and I’ve been able to see the city of Ottawa a little bit now, so that’s been nice, too. It’s a beautiful city and a great place to play hockey.”
However long this season lasts, the Senators will be watching Gilroy to see if he fits the bill as an offensive defenceman who can be part of the team’s future. They’ll have to make a decision on or before July 1, when Gilroy becomes a free agent.
For his part, Gilroy will also have to decide if he wants to return to Ottawa. For a start, though, he does like the opportunity that’s in front of him.
“You always try to get better and better, and I think I made some steps forward with Tampa and have become a way better defenceman,” he said.
“My offensive game started picking up there, and now here I’m getting a lot of trust from the coaches, which is nice and hopefully I can grow with the team.
“It’s inviting and it gives you confidence. You can never have too much confidence, especially when the coaches are giving it to you and the team is giving it to you.
“It’s a great opportunity in Ottawa and I’m very thankful for it.”
Coach Paul MacLean said it’s going to take time before Gilroy is truly comfortable with the team’s system but he’s seeing improvement.
“I think he’s getting better every day,” said MacLean.
“There are parts of his game we’d like to see him do more.
“He can be a little more active. He can be a little more explosive himself with the puck, activate offensively a little bit more than he does.
“But at the same time he wants to make sure that he’s got the defensive side of things in the proper place before he starts to do anything.
“We feel that his skating ability and his puck-moving abilities are going to come to the fore at some point for us, but we want to make sure that he’s comfortable with all the defensive side of things, and the system side of things, before he feels the confidence to go offensively.”

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