OTTAWA - Will he stay or will he go? Curtis Lazar will finally get an answer this week.The Ottawa rookie is expected to play his ninth game Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings, forcing the Senators to make a decision on the young centres future.The options are clear. The 19-year-old Lazar can either remain in the NHL or return to the Western Hockey Leagues Edmonton Oil Kings.After eight games, Lazar has made a strong case for himself to remain in the NHL. He has just two assists, but he hasnt looked out of place and on many nights has been one of Ottawas better players.Over the course of the eight games Lazar has played at wing and centre and killed penalties. Hes even been out on the ice in the dying minutes of a close game.Lazar is aware of the significance of Tuesdays game, but is trying not to overthink it.I approach it like another game and I know a decisions going to have to be made and its sort of my last chance of an audition, Lazar said. If I think about that then its not going to be beneficial to myself. I just have to go out and play and whatever happens, happens.Lazar knew coming in he would be facing this situation, but as the deadline approaches he would rather know his fate sooner rather than later.I kind of want to get it out of the way, he said. I kind of want the decision done where I can get a feel of where Im going to be this season for the most part and get comfortable because I still have that in the back of my mind. I could be going back to junior or I could be staying here. I dont know its up in the air. It sort of weighs on your mind a little bit, but nothing I can control so I just go out there and play my game and wait for the decision.The Senators are currently carrying two extra forwards. Most nights Erik Condra and Colin Greening have found themselves the odd man out.With four games this week head coach Paul MacLean said its likely everyone will get an opportunity to play, but that some decisions will have to be made to solidify the roster.Were getting to the point where we have to play our best team and decide what our best team is, MacLean said. Condra and Greening obviously have to be in that consideration with our group and those are the discussions that were continuing to have… but also it comes to the point that the tenth game you have to play your best team too so thats the decisions were in discussion in today.MacLean has been reserved in his evaluation of Lazars play to this point.Hes been very consistent and he hasnt done anything for us not to keep him, but we have to make the decision whats based best not only for our team, but also for him, MacLean said. Hes still a young man and we have to make sure hes in the proper environment to grown into the player that we all see him potentially being.With games against Detroit, Minnesota, Winnipeg and Toronto this week the Senators (5-3-2) will face their first significant test.Overall the organization seems satisfied with the teams performance after ten games, but there is definitely room for improvement as evidenced in a 4-2 loss in Boston on Saturday.I think weve been good, said captain Erik Karlsson. I think the record we have, were happy with it, were happy where we are. We had a letdown game in Boston, but thats the way its going to be sometimes. Luckily we play (Tuesday) and I dont think thats going to affect us any way. Win or loss, we just look ahead and to the next game.Karlsson doesnt believe the team has played its best hockey yet, but also said were not supposed to do that yet either.Consistency remains elusive for this group, much as it did last season at times.Putting up a 60-minute effort would be nice, Karlsson said. I think as of right now we have our ups and downs and I think weve been managing them well, but going forward here we maybe need to put a little bit more focus in the whole game and not try and have a few letdowns where we let in a few goals and we have to chase all the time.Individually Karlsson knows he needs to be better. He was minus-4 against Boston, but he doesnt allow himself to dwell on a poor performance.Im just going to turn the page and move forward, Karlsson said. I dont really care what happened last game. We lost, thats the end of the story for me. Last season the Senators often struggled on home ice, but so far theyve gone 2-0-2 at Canadian Tire Centre and would like to see that improve with a strong performance this week.Weve built some momentum at home with the start to our season and we need to come out Tuesday and have a game, MacLean said. We have a good opponent so we should be fired up to play them.Notes: G Craig Anderson will get the start against Detroit Tuesday. D Mark Borowiecki remains day-to-day with an upper body injury. He isnt expected to play Tuesday, but could be back in the lineup by the end of the week. D Marc Methot continues to make progress, but isnt expected to start skating with the team this week. Methot continues to be sidelined by his back. RW Alex Chiasson was on the ice and then left practice, but he isnt expected to miss any time. Erik Karlsson says he remains in close contact with Daniel Alfredsson and said Alfredsson has not made a decision on his future despite the fact that he has been unable to join the Red Wings due to a recurring back issue. Andrelton Simmons Jersey
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