Senators update: Anderson starting against Wild

Craig Anderson will be back in goal and Patrick Wiercioch will replace Eric Gryba on the blueline as the Ottawa Senators aim to end an ugly slide Wednesday against the Minnesota Wild.

Senators update: Anderson starting against Wild
Craig Anderson #41 of the Ottawa Senators makes a toe save as Eric Gryba #62 of the Ottawa Senators looks on during an NHL game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Canadian Tire Centre on November 17, 2013 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

Craig Anderson will be back in goal and Patrick Wiercioch will replace Eric Gryba on the blueline as the Ottawa Senators aim to end an ugly slide Wednesday against the Minnesota Wild.

The Senators have lost three of their past four games, including a 5-2 defeat in Philadelphia Tuesday where they yielded three late goals following a controversial non-goal call against them.

Neither the Senators nor the Wild, who lost 6-2 to Montreal Tuesday, skated on Wednesday morning.

However, there was no shortage of soul-searching Wednesday morning for the Senators, as everything from leadership to work ethic to consistency to pre-game preparation to the overall talent level of the club has come into question.

“Communication is an issue, in execution,” said MacLean. “We put ourselves on the wrong side of the puck by turning over the puck or not making the play that’s there for the puck and that now makes the defensive side of it harder because you have to work harder get back on the right side of the puck.

“And that takes time and that takes effort and so communication and talking is an important skill to have. But the most important one that I feel we don’t have going on is listening. If someone is talking and nobody is listening…there’s nothing going on.”

Anderson was in net for Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but backed up Robin Lehner against Philadelphia. Wiercioch has been a healthy scratch for the past three games.

“He has been out and he has been working at his game and Patrick is a player we have a lot of confidence in and belief in,” said MacLean. “He’s a puck mover, that is his skill to get the puck moving, get it up the ice and to really help us out on the powerplay. But he’s also got a big long road reach and he’s a big long guy.”

While Wiercioch is clearly not as physical as Gryba, Jared Cowen, Marc Methot or Mark Borowiecki, the Senators need him to be responsible defensively. Defensive zone breakdowns, as well as in inability to move the puck on breakouts, have been central to the Senators struggles.

“I think yes, you can, (make a player more physical),” said MacLean. “Not to the extent that maybe you want them to be, but they can be more physical for sure.”

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