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Tkachuk: Sens won't 'be done in April anymore'

Josh Lavallee / National Hockey League / Getty

Count captain Brady Tkachuk among the Ottawa Senators who are sick and tired of having their season end early.

"I just don't like being done in April anymore. I'm pretty done with it," he said during his end-of-season media availability, per TSN. "I think moving forward, it won't be the case. That's the belief in the locker room, that's the next step: We're not gonna be done in April anymore."

After bringing in Alex DeBrincat, Claude Giroux, and Cam Talbot during an electric offseason, the Senators finished the campaign six points out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference and failed to make the playoffs for the sixth straight year.

Giroux entered his first season in Canada's capital with 95 games of playoff experience under his belt, and the 35-year-old veteran was disappointed to not have the chance to add to that total with the young Senators in 2022-23.

"I think we did a lot of good things. ... Saying that, honestly it's not the position we want to be in right now," he said. "Well, me personally, I know we took a step from the team they had last year, but you want to be in the playoffs. You want to be competing. It's just a little frustrating right now."

Tkachuk previously emphasized that this season felt "different" than past years, including the 2021-22 campaign when the Senators finished in seventh place in the Atlantic Division with a 33-42-7 record. Then, they were a distant 27 points out of a playoff spot.

Ottawa earned six more victories and finished with 13 more points in 2022-23.

Newcomer Jakob Chychrun acknowledged the improvement and has liked what he's seen from the club since his arrival in March.

"It's awesome. That's what you look for as a player, is to be on a team that's trending in the right direction, and I think this could be a really special few years with this group," he said. "The sky's the limit for this team and the potential that we have in there."

Chychrun could only get into 12 contests as a Senator due to injury, but he noted he was "pretty close" to returning and that he hopes to get into "every game next year."

Ottawa has some decisions to make in the summer. The likes of DeBrincat and Shane Pinto are set to become restricted free agents, while Talbot and defenseman Travis Hamonic are among those who can become unrestricted free agents.

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