OTTAWA – With his Ottawa Senators sitting dead last in the NHL, Bryan Murray is prepared to shake things up.
The general manager of the 1-4-1 Sens told reporters Wednesday that he’s considering making a move.
“It’s up to all of us (to improve things), this is a team,” Murray said. “It’s not the coaches or players only, it’s me doing anything I can.
“I’ve talked to a number of people,” Murray added. “I talked to (Minnesota Wild general manager) Chuck Fletcher for a long time yesterday and said, ‘Can I help you, you help me’ type of thing, so we’re talking to management of other teams, trying to find if there is a need and a possibility of making a move.”
Murray acknowledged a trade isn’t always the answer, but even just the possibility of change can send a message to players.
The GM was brutally honest in his assessment of the Senators performance so far this season.
“We’re not moving the puck up from the back end, we’re not defending very well and we’re giving up far too many chances,” said Murray. “I just think we turn the puck over in our own end and we haven’t battled defensively the way we should and the way we’re capable of doing in my own opinion. The result is we’re scrambling for the puck too often.”
The Senators problems on defence have been glaring and once again Murray was blunt in his opinion of his blue-liners.
“I can’t say that one of our D (defencemen) have played to where I thought they were going to be,” said Murray, who pointed out that Chris Phillips needs to be better and that Erik Karlsson has fallen far short of expectations, saying he has “struggled big time.”
The Senators road doesn’t get any easier as they face Northeast Division opponents in Buffalo and Montreal on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Head coach Cory Clouston spent much of Wednesday’s practice focusing on defensive zone coverage and wrapped things up with some hard skating.
While six games hardly define a season, Clouston feels much can be learned from the team’s early struggles.
“It showed us the areas that we need to work on and get better at and it shows that when we don’t play the way we should we’re not a very good team,” said Clouston. “We have to play with a lot more sense of urgency. In panic nothing positive comes from that, but urgency we can turn that into a positive.”
The players struggle to explain the slow start, but remain confident in one another.
“We definitely feel we can turn this around, but we obviously have to start sooner rather than later,” admitted captain Daniel Alfredsson.
Alfredsson is just three points shy of hitting the 1,000-point milestone, and while the accomplishment is never far from his mind, he feels it’s secondary to the team’s success.
There’s a strong possibility that Alfredsson will reach the milestone this weekend given his past success against both Buffalo and Montreal, but at this point he would much prefer to see the team enjoy success.
“It feels pretty irrelevant,” Alfredsson said. “I know it’s there and I know it’s going to happen at some point, but at this point it’s just in my mind in a positive way.”
Alfredsson believes the team needs to rely on the game’s fundamentals and not worry about mistakes.
“You don’t want to be the guy that makes mistakes and that’s dangerous because you can become too passive,” said Alfredsson.”It felt that way in Pittsburgh where instead of being aggressive at times we were giving them too much time with the puck.”
Mike Fisher agreed with Alfredsson’s assessment and believes that if the team can just catch a break they might be able to get things started.
“Last year we struggled through periods and when we caught fire we were rolling and never looked back,” said Fisher. “It’s just a matter of getting on a bit of a roll here.”
Notes: Jason Spezza did not practise Wednesday, but is expected to play Friday . . . C Zach Smith was re-assigned to Binghamton of the AHL . . . D David Hale is expected to be recalled from Binghamton.