Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jim Kelley at Sportsnet,
To use the old cliché: they played for each other. They finally became a team.
None of that came easy to the Senators and a tip of the proverbial hat has to go to crusty general manger John Muckler, who always could see their problems and never stopped working to eliminate them.
The same goes for Murray who at long last became the coach that instilled a sense of accountability into his players. By holding them accountable for their shortcomings as well as their accomplishments he became the coach that got them to play as a team. For once the Senators could close their locker room door and hold themselves accountable for what went on on the ice.
Under Murray they came to realize that they and they alone would solve their problems and when that light finally went on, when that sense of accountability finally took hold, Murray’s job was done.
From Pierre Lebrun at the CP via CBC,
Fast forward 12 months later and the Senators are back in the same spot after a five-game win in the first round. Except this year’s edition believes it’s better suited for a run.
“You can see the difference in this hockey club from the previous hockey clubs that I’ve been with,” said Senators GM John Muckler. “This hockey club seems to have something special. The leadership is great, they all get along together, they compete every night, they have the skill level and the physical strength - so we’ll see where that takes us.”
The difference is the commitment to team defence.
From David Naylor at the Globe & Mail,
The political gamesmanship is heating up leading into Thursday night’s fifth and potentially deciding game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators.
Although the Senators were penalized five times in a row during Tuesday’s fourth game of the series, Penguins head coach Michel Therrien insists there should have been more handed out to the Senators for their manhandling of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
“We thought there could have been more calls with the hooking and grabbing,” said Therrien. “When you see Crosby getting hooked, when they play him with their hands … Hopefully we’ll get those calls tonight.”
Not to be outdone, Ottawa head coach Bryan Murray believes there are calls his team should be getting from what he perceives as late hits being thrown by Pittsburgh’s Gary Roberts.
From the CP, via TSN,
Mike Comrie is one win away from uncharted territory, the second round of the NHL playoffs.
The 26-year-old Edmonton native is one of the reasons the Ottawa Senators lead their best-of-seven series 3-1 against the Pittsburgh Penguins heading into Game 5 Thursday night.
‘‘He’s been great,’’ said linemate Mike Fisher. ‘‘He’s not the biggest guy, but he’s got a big heart. He’s playing really well and physical, making good plays and being smart. He’s been huge for us. ..
‘‘He’s playing with a bit of an edge.’‘
From Bruce Garrioch at the Ottawa Sun,
Patrick Eaves’ phone rang in his hotel room Monday and on the other end of the line was Colby Armstrong.
The Penguins winger wanted to make sure Eaves was all right after Armstrong delivered a crushing blow to the Senator in the second period of Ottawa’s Game 3 win on Sunday.
While Eaves wasn’t able to suit up for Game 4 last night, Armstrong wanted Eaves to know he didn’t intend to cause an injury when they collided at the side of the net.
Eaves was taken off the ice on a stretcher. CBC reported he had a concussion, but the Senators have refused to confirm those reports. The club is calling it a head injury, saying Eaves is day-to-day.
From Wayne Scanlan at CanWest News,
The Pittsburgh Penguins have an unusual pre-game theme song for a Stanley Cup hopeful -Mission Impossible.
The mission is starting to look just that, impossible, after a 2-1, seat-of-the-pants victory by the Ottawa Senators gave Ottawa a 3-1 lead Tuesday in their NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Penguins.
This is usually the point when hockey types start invoking the “stranglehold” word into a playoff series, sometimes carelessly.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
“I know there’s lots of commentary about the history, but this is a very different hockey team than I had last year, very different,” said Murray, who held an optional workout yesterday.
“We play different, we work different, we handle things better and we’ve talked about it at length. Especially, early in the year (when there was adversity).
“We paid a little price, at that time, but we’re past that. The history lesson has been well learned, I hope.
“We’re just going to be calm and play.”
Ottawa forward Patrick Eaves will not play in Game 4 of the Senators’ Eastern Conference quarter-final with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday (CBC, 7 p.m. ET).
The Ottawa winger didn’t skate in practice Monday, but his teammates said he was up and walking about after Sunday night’s game in Pittsburgh, a 4-2 win for the Senators.
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
Imagine Snow White and Cinderella are at the big ball, and all of a sudden, you look over and Snow White’s dunking Cinderella’s head in the punch bowl and Cinderella’s poking Snow White in the eye with her tiara.
It’s not a pretty sight and it’s shocking in its departure from the expected.
Which brings us to the Senators and their grunting, grinding 4-2 victory in Game 3 of their opening-round series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. It left Ottawa with a 2-1 series lead and quelled, for a moment, all talk of playoff failures past.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
But Senators coach Bryan Murray wasn’t complaining afterwards.
“I read all the articles when Chris Neil hit (the Sabres) Chris Drury (in February) and it was the same type of hit,” he said. “It was a kid trying to make contact. (Eaves) had his head down a little bit. He got driven with the shoulder, that’s part of hockey.
“I feel bad with (Eaves) getting hurt the way he did and I know you’ll write extensive articles about how tough Armstrong was and how that shouldn’t be allowed,’’ Murray continued, ‘‘but we felt the same way when Neil hit Drury.
‘‘It was a fair hit, a hockey hit and we live with it accordingly.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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