Senators notebook: Greening’s struggles, Smith’s consistency

Colin Greening and Matt Kassian took turns running through drills on a fourth line Monday, leaving everyone guessing about coach Paul MacLean’s plans against Chicago Tuesday.

Jimmy Howard #35 of the Detroit Red Wings makes a fist period save in behind the stick of Colin Greening #14 of the Ottawa Senators at Joe Louis Arena on October 23, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Colin Greening and Matt Kassian took turns running through drills on a fourth line Monday, leaving everyone guessing about coach Paul MacLean’s plans against Chicago Tuesday.

Whether MacLean sends the ultimate message by benching Greening or not, it’s already quite clear he’s not happy with the production he’s receiving from Greening. At this point, Greening has the same number of goals as Kassian – zero – while contributing three assists.

Greening hasn’t even had a shot on goal in the past three games and has only eight shots on goal in 11 games, not nearly enough for a player who is expected to be a solid power winger for the team, capable of playing anywhere throughout the lineup.

“Especially, the last two games have been a bit of a struggle for me, but I have to try and rectify that,” said Greening. “It’s hard to pinpoint. You go through these spells every now and again.”

From a glass is half full perspective, Greening also got off to a slow start last season, registering only one goal and three assists in his first 15 games, before finishing the year with eight goals and 11 assists in 47 games.

Kassian, meanwhile, hasn’t played since the Senators 3-1 loss to Edmonton on Oct. 19. While Kassian’s chief role is to be a policeman, helping protect the club’s skilled players, he has yet to fight in the five games he has played.

“It’s the kind of thing where you’ll have three in three games and then you won’t have any for four games and then you might have four in five games,” said Kassian, suggesting that the Senators steady diet of Western Conference opponents could be a factor, because the rivalries aren’t as intense.

“You’re not up against guys you’re playing four, five, six times a year where you just want to rip each other’s throats out the whole time. There are just a lot of things that factor into that.”

SMITH EARNS MACLEAN’S PRAISES: When asked to single out his team’s most consistent players this season, Senators coach Paul MacLean said goaltenders Craig Anderson, Robin Lehner and third-line centre Zack Smith have delivered what they’re supposed to, almost every game.

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