With the Ottawa Senators playoff hopes rapidly fading, tensions rose in Friday’s practice until teammates Jared Cowen and Chris Neil literally came to blows.

Senators coach Paul MacLean remarked that the team needs more of that, though preferably when they’re actually playing games.

If the theme of last season was that of an underrated group finding ways to win despite missing many of their key players due to injuries, then this year is about failing to live up to the expectations of others by putting forth a questionable effort.

That seems to be how Senators coach Paul MacLean sees it, who admitted that he’s bothered by the fact that we’re now in March and he still has to talk about the team’s work ethic.

“Every day we come to work, it’s ‘why don’t we play harder, why aren’t we a better group?’ That’s the things that we discuss every day, and we’re still searching for a solution,” MacLean told the Ottawa Citizen.

“All I know is we have 19 more games to play, and we’ve got to keep working on it. We can’t just let it slide, we have to continue to work at it. This isn’t just a one-year type of thing.”