Hints of change for the power play
Senators head coach Bryan Murray said on Wednesday after practice he'd likely make some changes to the power play units he's been using lately.
He wasn't happy with the result of a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes a night earlier. It was a night that included a 0-8 performance with the man advantage.
"Your power play can be emotional or mechanical to some point. Our guys are not prepared to be mechanical. We are trying to make a lot of impossible plays and with the few setups we had (against Carolina) we missed the net. I think I have to make a move or two to each unit."
Murray also hinted he expected more from the first power play unit of Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Martin Havlat, Dany Heatley and Wade Redden.
"Some goals have come to easy for them. You could see this coming. Hopefully last night was a wakeup call to them. The other guys shot the puck and had a guy in front of the net in our previous game. Teams kill penalties very well in our league. Carolina did a real good job at defending and extended a guy on the puck very well. On one of our power plays our guys had a long shift because they kept retrieving the puck in their zone. You don't have to hold on to it so long though."
Players expect power play success will return
Although the Senators success on the power play has been lacking in the past few games, the players feel they haven't lost their scoring touch with the extra man.
"Power plays are one of the mysteries of hockey," said centre Jason Spezza.
"You go through stretches where you don't score and then you go through stretches where you can't miss. We've hit a couple of posts in the last couple of games. (Against Carolina) we kept hitting things in front of the net."
Most agree that it's time to get back to basics.
"We trying to be a little too fancy lately," said winger Martin Havlat.
"We have to be more hungry to score. We have to work harder on the power play. We're not working as hard as we should be for the puck. We have to make better plays, that will make it easier on ourselves."
Chris Neil has enjoyed power play success early on this season. That's primarily because he hasn't been afraid to crash opposing nets to make life difficult for goaltenders.
"We have to get down to basics, bread and butter type plays. We have to have traffic in front and gets some tips or take some pucks off legs, shin pads, whatever."
Despite a great start to the season, the Senators currently rank just 14th on the power play.
"We're trying to force things and we're holding on to the puck too long," said defenceman Wade Redden.
"We have the ability to make great plays but we're looking to do that a bit too much. The big thing is for us to shoot the puck a bit more. Maybe we should cycle the puck like we do five on five. We're getting lots of chances then."
Alfredsson says the power play shutout against Carolina is unacceptable.
"We played a pretty good game last night. The power play could've won us the game but it didn't. That's something we have to keep working on."
Coach Bryan Murray agrees with those sentiments.
"The bottom line is we can't accept losing. You have to be ready, be sharp and focused."
Jacques Martin back in Ottawa Thursday night
Thursday night will mark the return of Jacques Martin to Ottawa. The former Senators head coach will return with his new team, the Florida Panthers, for a 7:30 p.m. start.
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, who was coached by Martin every year of his NHL career before this season, expects a good game upon his return.
"It's a game he wants to win, and we want to win. I think people in Ottawa appreciate what Jacques did for this team and this community. He was a big part in bringing us to the top of the league."
Defenceman Wade Redden is looking forward to playing against Martin.
"It's been a big change for sure. We had eight years with Jacques and (the change) has sunk in now, we're about a quarter into the season. I think he'll be excited to be back in his home town, we just have to be sure he doesn't enjoy it too much."
Chris Neil says Martin's move to Florida is no one's fault. It's just life according to the NHL.
"It's like a meat market. You get shipped off, it's part of the game. The opportunity to play against him, it's great."
Bryan Murray, who replaced Martin as head coach of the Senators two years ago, joked when asked if a former coach can express certain aspects of his former club to his new team during a match up like this.
"Definitely there's information you can pass on. Just like I did with (Carolina goaltender Martin) Gerber last night. Players have to follow through on it though."
Alfredsson was asked to talk about differences between the two coaches.
"Jacques is defence first but I think you have to play with what strengths you have. We have lots of skill here and Bryan lets us do what we do best. Jacques paid a lot of attention to little details and Bryan allows us to be more creative and maybe lets us make a few more mistakes."
Although he's appreciative of the things he was taught by Martin, Martin Havlat says the game against Florida doesn't stand out compared to others.
"It's the guys on the ice we play against. It's like any other game."
Jason Spezza also downplayed any extra motivation in playing against Martin.
"Any time you change a coach, there's a change in attitudes. It's always nice to play an old coach and do well but the past is the past. I'm a key part of this team now and we have to move on."