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Guy Boucher: Senators 'got what we needed'

Coach says Ottawa addressed lack of left-handed center, poor power play in offseason

by Chris Stevenson / Correspondent

OTTAWA -- After three years away from the NHL, Guy Boucher is eager to get back behind the bench with the Ottawa Senators.

The 45-year-old, who spent the past two seasons coaching SC Bern of Switzerland's National League A after three with the Tampa Bay Lightning, was hired as Senators coach on May 8. He took part in the Senators' annual golf tournament Monday and is looking forward to the start of rookie camp Thursday.

"Right now, this is exciting," Boucher said. "I'll be honest with you. We've done lots of preparation and it's enough now."

Boucher traveled this summer to meet with Senators players, often spending half a day getting to know them and explaining his system of play and expectations.

Boucher said he is excited about the changes Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion made since the end of the regular season, including acquiring center Derick Brassard from the New York Rangers in a trade for Mika Zibanejad and signing free agent centers Chris Kelly and Tom Pyatt.

Brassard and Kelly are left-handed, addressing the most pressing need Boucher saw when breaking down the Senators last season.

Video: Breaking down the Rangers trade with the Senators

"We absolutely needed some left-handed centers," Boucher said. "From the outside, I know it's not something that is apparent as a weakness, but when you have all righties as centers either for the faceoffs or power play, we had too many guys fighting for the same spots.

"We wanted left-handed centers for our top two lines. We were able to get a No. 1 center, so we've got [Kyle] Turris as a No. 1, we got Brassard as a No. 1, but he's left-handed, so that gives us a lot more versatility 5-on-5, a lot more tools."

One of the areas Boucher must address is the Senators power play, which was tied for 26th in the League last season (15.8 percent). He said acquiring Brassard, who had 58 points (including a Rangers-high 22 on the power play), is a big step.

"Power play is a lot about lefties and righties being in the right place," Boucher said. "One foot here, one specific skill in that setting makes all the difference. We got exactly what we needed and more. To be honest with you, I never thought Pierre was going to be able to go get a No. 1 center, left-handed. We have all these tools to be able to tap into.

"I think we've added to the personnel we needed. Not because some guys who left were not good. We needed something else specifically, and I think we've really added that. I have to say I'm really happy with more tools in my toolbox to be able to switch things around and have different guys having different roles and not overtaxing some guys doing everything."

Video: OTT@TOR: Ryan scores quickly after faceoff turnover

Brassard said he expects to start training camp on a line with left wing Clarke MacArthur and right wing Bobby Ryan. MacArthur's season ended after four games last season because of a concussion.

"That's probably the plan right now," Brassard said. "If I start with Bobby and Clarke, we can find some really good chemistry together. We have a little bit of everything on that line. Clarke's coming off an injury, so he's probably going to be pretty excited to play this year and he's going to have something to prove. I'm a new guy here, I'm going to have something to prove as well. Same thing for Bobby."

Dorion, who took over for former GM Bryan Murray, who stepped down in April, said he's happy with his restructured roster but might add a depth forward or defenseman through free agency or a professional tryout.

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