|Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson is committed to bringing the Stanley Cup to Ottawa.|
by Todd Anderson
The 2007 playoffs begin tomorrow for the Ottawa Senators when they host the Pittsburgh Penguins for Game 1 of their quarter-final series. Captain Daniel Alfredsson says it's his dream to bring the Stanley Cup to Ottawa.
"I'm very thankful that I've always had the opportunity to be with a Canadian team," Alfredsson said after practice today. "(Playing) in this kind of market comes with a lot of pressure but that dream of winning a Stanley Cup in Ottawa makes all the hard times seem not that tough."
With the Senators playing as the lone NHL club from eastern Canada to reach the playoffs, head coach Bryan Murray feels it's an opportunity for his team to gain more exposure with a successful run.
"I think it's a great opportunity for a lot of our players," Murray says. "They don't have to do anything phenomenal. I'm not asking anybody to do anything out of character. As I said to them yesterday, a loss is not a cliff, it's just a crossroad. You have to make a decision what you're going to do in the next game. I take great pride in the fact that we're playing in the playoffs, No. 1; and No. 2 that we are representing this part of the country."
Alfredsson says the adversity the team went through early this season should help it deal with the pressure that the playoffs bring.
"It's a different team. It has gone through a lot of changes since last year," Alfredsson says of the Senators. "We had a tough stretch before we knew who was going to be where on the team, and once we did, I think we played real consistent. That's an important thing to have. It seems every time we had a so-so effort we always came back with a strong one."
Adds Murray: "The struggles we had, adjusting to life after a few players that left over the summer, maybe the fact that we lost to Buffalo last year, there was some hangover, probably, from a lot of things. We did make good adjustments. The players responded. I think we learned a great deal. I think we got a lot from it and I think our team after that seemed to bond a lot better."