Methot on sitting out: ‘I’m OK with it’

In the summer, Ottawa Senators defenceman Marc Methot was on the radar for Canada’s Olympic team, getting a heads-up at the evaluation camp in Calgary.

NEWARK, New Jersey — In the summer, Ottawa Senators defenceman Marc Methot was on the radar for Canada’s Olympic team, getting a heads-up at the evaluation camp in Calgary.

But here Wednesday night, he was dealing with the reality that he wasn’t part of what coach Paul MacLean felt was his best lineup against the New Jersey Devils. Methot, who had missed the previous three games while dealing the flu, was a healthy scratch as MacLean opted to stick with the winning lineup from Monday’s 3-2 overtime victory over the St. Louis Blues.

Now in his second season with the Senators, Methot has primarily been used as part of the top defence pairing, usually playing alongside Erik Karlsson when he has been healthy.

While MacLean is receiving no shortage of second-guessing for making Methot a healthy scratch, the defenceman was taking it all in stride Wednesday – after taking all the extra strides of extra work following the club’s morning skate. Eric Gryba was also a healthy scratch on defence.

“After a game like that, they played arguably their best game of the year, it wouldn’t even be fair to take somebody out,” said Methot, who has two goals, five assists and has averaged 21:28 per game this season. “They all deserve to be in the lineup and I’m professional enough to understand that.”

It’s intriguing that Methot, an Ottawa native, was essentially being bumped by Cody Ceci, the Ottawa native who scored the overtime game winner against St. Louis. Ceci was part of a group that looked comfortable and Methot, in perfect diplomatic fashion, says he couldn’t argue otherwise.

“I want to play, but when the team plays like it did, you roll with that lineup. Especially against a team like St. Louis. They played real well. It was one of the best games I’ve seen us play all year. I’m okay with it.”

Methot, 28, joked that the whole process “makes me feel like I’m younger again”, forced to battle his way into an NHL lineup like the days when he was climbing the ladder from the American Hockey League.

“I’ve got to earn a spot again to get back in the lineup,” he said. “And I love that. I’m working hard. Both me and (Eric Gryba) are working our tails off in practice afterwards and doing extra workouts to get back. And whenever I get called upon, I will be better.”

MacLean went back to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy in explaining the decision.

“Depth is a big part of every team and we have depth on defence and we have to evaluate who gives us the best opportunity to win.”

Considering that the Senators are immediately back in action Thursday at Canadian Tire Centre against the Florida Panthers, it’s possible MacLean will re-insert Methot into the lineup.

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