|Ottawa Senators general manager John Muckler is glad to see the franchise rewarded for its hard work with a spot to the Stanley Cup final. Photo: A. Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC|
by Todd Anderson
A five-time Stanley Cup winner, Ottawa Senators general manager John Muckler says there was something extra special about Saturday's 3-2 overtime win in Game 5 against the Buffalo Sabres that clinched a spot for his team in the 2007 championship final.
"This is my seventh trip here. In that dressing room last night you saw a lot of people that have never been here before, and it was real nice to see the smiles on their faces," Muckler said during a news conference at Scotiabank Place today. "They were just happy. They were rewarded for the great job that they did."
Into his 26th season in the NHL - which has featured more than 600 wins and 1,200 games behind the bench - Bryan Murray will be coaching in his first Stanley Cup final.
"It's special. It feels great," Murray says. "I'm so happy for the guys. I always knew given a chance we could do it, but you have to get there to prove it.
"For 10 years this organization has been very competitive and has had a good operation. Whether it be the luck of the draw, whether it be bad luck on the ice, whatever; they haven't gone as far as some people expected they might. To get it done and get to this point at least is a remarkable achievement."
Muckler, who has held his position with Ottawa for the last five seasons, is pleased to be able to share in the experience with the Sens Army faithful.
"Obviously, it's very satisfying. I think it's great for the organization and it's great for the community," Muckler says. "Something happened yesterday that we were hoping for a long time. The job isn't done. Up to this point we've played very well. We have a very good chance to do some good things and we can't wait to start.
"I think it's great for the community. The hockey fan here has been very patient. Without showing patience a lot of mistakes could have been made. Everybody in the organization was very patient. Those decisions made us better, and we changed the attitude of our hockey club. I think there will be millions of people cheering for Ottawa to get the job done."
Muckler adds that he's been impressed with how the entire Ottawa Senators organization has come together to help mold the team into a winner.
"I'm happy for everybody in the organization. The ownership has given us the opportunity to get the players that we needed. I'm happy for Roy (Mlakar, Senators president and CEO), who has held this thing together under some tough situations. The coaching staff has done a wonderful job.
"I'm happy for the scouting staff who go from town to town through snowstorms and try to find people for us to put in our lineup. All the trainers that have been around since I've been here are enjoying some of the success. Our office staff, they've done a great job. It's just like a happy family. They've all done outstanding jobs and they've been very supportive. They deserve a lot of credit."