Senators wait and watch while others climb

After a successful Florida trip with their fathers in tow, the Ottawa Senators settled back into their practice routine Friday and prepared for a weekend of scoreboard watching.

Senators wait and watch while others climb
Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators scores during the shootout against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the game at Consol Energy Center on April 13, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Senators defeated the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

After a successful Florida trip with their fathers in tow, the Ottawa Senators settled back into their practice routine Friday and prepared for a weekend of scoreboard watching.

They had Thursday off and don’t play again until Monday, a gap that will allow several of the teams chasing them for Eastern Conference’s lower playoff seeds to burn off some games in hand.

Ottawa currently sits seventh, four points up on eighth-place Toronto and seven up on ninth-place Washington. The Leafs play in Vancouver on Saturday, while Washington takes on division rivals Florid and Tampa Bay.

Jason Spezza, who picked up three goals and four assists in victories over the Lightning and Panthers this week, said the Senators were well aware of how important their trip was, considering the lackluster 1-2-2 homestand that preceded it.

“We knew it was important because we’re not playing all weekend and you’re watching other teams get points,” he said. “For us to get the wins and get back on track feeling good about our game was important too.”

Spezza added that while team success was paramount, but it was a treat to have some personal success as well with his dad watching from the stands.

“It doesn’t matter how old you get, it’s still nice to play well in front of your dad,” he said with a chuckle. “We’re all just big kids anyways and you’re always looking to impress your parents, so you know, it was fun to have him around and to get the wins that we got.”

The Senators will have Saturday off before heading to New York on Sunday. They play the Islanders at 1 p.m. on Monday, which is a holiday in the United States.

Other news and notes from Senators practice:

— Centre Jesse Winchester, still trying to recover from a concussion suffered in late December, skated Friday. Winchester has already had one setback after hitting the ice.

— Senators coach Paul MacLean suggested Jim O’Brien is earning his extended stay with the club after a shabby start to the year. MacLean said O’Brien’s attention to detail was lacking and his willingness to take instruction during training camp was ‘poor,’ but that it’s evident the young centre went down to Binghamton and did the things the coach there, Kurt Kleinendorst, asked of him.

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