Time for Turris to take charge

The Ottawa Senators need more from Kyle Turris.

SUNRISE, Florida – The Ottawa Senators need more from Kyle Turris.

Turris, who inherited the top centre job when Jason Spezza was sidelined due to back disc surgery, is in the midst of another lengthy scoring drought. He hasn’t scored a goal in eight games, picking up three assists in that span.

With the Senators now on a three-game losing streak and the pack of teams closing in on the final playoff spots in the Eastern Conference standings — the New Jersey Devils were in ninth spot, five points behind the Senators before Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs – the spotlight is back on number 7.

Crunch time has arrived Sunday here against the Florida Panthers. The Senators need to “stop the bleeding,” in the words of coach Paul MacLean.

For those waiting for Spezza to rescue them, he’s not returning anytime soon. Senators general manager Bryan Murray said Thursday that Spezza has picked up the pace of off-ice workouts, but hasn’t returned to skating.

Turris was hardly alone in delivering a sub-par effort in Friday’s 4-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Pick a player, any player, and you can find fault. The list is endless.

However, as a guy who regularly plays between 18 minutes-22 minutes per game as the number one guy in the middle,the criticism can’t be far away from Turris when he’s not producing and the team is not winning.

Turris has had only two shots in the goal in the past two games and he had rough night in the faceoff circle against Buffalo, winning only seven of 21 draws. The power play struggled in its four opportunities, partly due to losing key faceoffs.

Make no mistake about it, Turris is working to improve. He also relishes the opportunity to be the club’s number one centre, playing against the league’s top centres and top defencemen, game after game. He has shown his compete level on the opening faceoff in the past two games. Both he and his opponent have been tossed from the circle while fighting for position.

“I’m really enjoying it, it’s a challenge and I love that challenge,” he said before playing the Sabres. “It’s little things, like taking 25-30 faceoffs every game, bearing down on everyone.”

Turris isn’t hiding from his statistics. While he has eight goals and 14 assists in 37 games, he endured a 21-game goal scoring drought earlier in the year.

“It has been kind of inconsistent point-wise, but I’m learning, I’m trying to get physically stronger to handle it. I always want to get better on little things,” he said. “Anticipating breaking out of our end to get more odd man rushes. Being stronger on the puck and creating more, getting more scoring opportunities and shots. There’s lots I’m trying to work at.”

Tied up into all that, of course, is dealing with the heat when the team isn’t playing well.

 

Tags: , ,

What do you think? Leave a comment