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Disappointed head coach Guy Boucher shook the Senator's line



Guy Boucher has seen it quite a lot.

He can't sit any longer.

Because of limited choices, the Ottawa Senator's head coach sent a message to the players during training at the Canadian Tire Center on Sunday afternoon by changing all combinations of front lines and then running exercises focusing on physical involvement.

With the Senator mired in a four-defeat skid and preparing to close 2018 on the road against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night, Boucher broke the top lines of Mark Stone, Colin White and Brady Tkachuk.

In addition to landing Chris Tierney in the middle between Tkachuk and Stone and White on the wing beside Matt Duchene and Bobby Ryan, the most noticeable change was to use winger Ryan Dzingel in the fourth row with Tom Pyatt and Nick Paul.

Ahead of Saturday's 3-2 loss at the Washington Capitals, the Senator may still lose four regular players – including goalkeeper Craig Anderson – but that is no reason.

"I want more than what you see in the second and third periods, and that's more encouragement," Boucher said Sunday before the Senator charter flight to Columbus. "We are too perimeter.

"We have too many people who try to process it and (use) boundaries and find space when there is no space out there. Most games, you have to charge through the game. I like White line, it can't be trusted, but we can't be a one-line team and that's what we have been doing lately. "

Senators continued Colin White, left, and Mark Stone celebrated Stone's third goal against Washington on Saturday night. They have played together well, but skating on different lines during training on Sunday.

Justin Tang /

CANADIAN PRESS

Boucher said he had to try something new by breaking the White trio because the Senator did not win and success was always part of the rebuilding plan.

"The three people (White, Stone and Tkachuk) have worked very hard and they are great to watch, but we need to have a team," Boucher added. "It's not that I want to divide the line, but I have to spread the elements of my hard work throughout the lineup."

Of course, there is a risk involved, but Boucher was paid to make this decision and Senators 3-8-1 in their previous 12 National Hockey League matches. The five-game losing streak until the end of 2018 will only add to the mounting frustration, and some of them are clearly underachieving.

Dzingel, who can become a free agent without restrictions if he does not re-sign before July 1, has not met expectations. He has three goals and three assists in 13 matches in December, and it won't cut it. When Boucher talks about people who need to pay the price, one of them is Dzingel.

The players will not like some of the decisions made by Boucher and his assistant, but it is time to turn the ship over.

"There is a danger to get out of the house and fall on my face down the stairs," Boucher said with a laugh. "If I always stop myself in danger, I might also sit on the couch. Always about making a decision to move forward.

"One of the things I know is that I can always pull back and go back to the line (White, Stone, Tkachuk), but I know, if it is the only line that has the identity I want, then we will not win a lot of games, right now, we have to spread it and, hopefully, have a hard-working identity, we go into a warehouse that is hard to play because (Columbus) is a very, very hard-working team.

"We won't beat anyone. We don't have it. Once we don't work harder than our opponents, we don't become the top. If you see the last two matches, we have the best of New York Islanders (on Friday) because we beat they are for the first two periods.

"We are a better team in the second and third (against Washington), but there is a lost period where we do not beat the opponent. We have to find a combination that will give us 60 minutes of work, pay the price, be the first in pieces, take checks to play, block shots, filter, tip, and fight in their nets. That's how you get identity. "

It's wrong if Boucher doesn't try the new look.

"The biggest risk is not doing anything and then nothing happens and that is the worst thing in my life. There's nothing, "Boucher said. "For me, shake it, find it, try it, adjust it, adjust it again and adjust again and that's how you know your best combination."

bgarrioch@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/sungarrioch


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