Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ottawa Senators Centre Matt Duchene Thinks Team Can Prove Critics Wrong

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ottawa Senators Centre Matt Duchene Thinks Team Can Prove Critics Wrong

Article excerpt

Duchene thinks Sens can silence critics

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OTTAWA - Matt Duchene believes the Ottawa Senators might surprise a few people this season.

Duchene, who took part in an informal scrimmage with several of his Senators teammates Monday, says he sees plenty of reason for optimism heading into a new campaign -- despite all the negative headlines about the team in recent months.

"I think we've got a lot of speed, a lot of talent and I think people are overlooking a lot of it," said the 27-year-old centre from Haliburton, Ont. "I think some of that talent is going to come from our young guys and I think we're going to have a chip on our shoulder. I've played on some teams where you have a tough year the year before and guys come in hungry and I see that from our guys right now.

"We should have a chip on our shoulder after last year. We're a lot better hockey team than we showed and we can be a lot better hockey team than people are giving us credit for."

The Senators finished second-last in the NHL last season after reaching Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final in 2017. During the lousy season, they also had several off-ice issues pop up.

Owner Eugene Melnyk drew heated criticism for saying the team could move if attendance didn't pick up. There also has been constant speculation about captain Erik Karlsson's future with the squad, which only picked up when his wife filed an order of protection against former teammate Mike Hoffman's fiancee for alleged cyberbullying.

Meanwhile, assistant general manager Randy Lee resigned this summer after being accused of harassment in Buffalo.

Duchene, however, said the off-ice issues weren't that big a factor in the team's tumble.

"Honestly, probably not as much as you would think," said Duchene, who was acquired in a three-team trade last October. "Last year just got away from us for a lot of reasons and we're looking to right those this year. …

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