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Senators' Tkachuk 'sick and tired' of people criticizing D.J. Smith

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Brady Tkachuk defended his head coach after a blowout loss had some Ottawa Senators fans chanting for D.J. Smith's dismissal.

"There's nobody to blame but ourselves, the players, just we weren't ready to play (Saturday)," the Senators captain said following a 5-1 defeat to the New Jersey Devils.

"That's my job to get everybody ready, and yeah, I'm sick and tired of seeing all this negativity (on) social media and all that. It's not one person, it's the group in here that needs to figure it out."

The Senators were booed off the ice Saturday, and several Ottawa supporters vocalized their displeasure with the team's head coach.

Expectations for the Senators rose significantly heading into this season after general manager Pierre Dorion made several splashes over the summer. He landed potent scorer Alex DeBrincat in a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks, signed skilled veteran Claude Giroux in free agency, and acquired goaltender Cam Talbot from the Minnesota Wild.

However, Ottawa hasn't met those expectations so far in 2022-23. The Sens sit last in the Atlantic Division and near the basement of the league in terms of points percentage through 17 games.

The club hired Smith in May 2019. Ottawa has finished no higher than sixth place in the three previous campaigns since he took the reins, and the team has an 87-114-25 record with the 45-year-old behind the bench.

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