by Todd Anderson
The Ottawa Senators finished off the Pittsburgh Penguins last night in what turned out to be a dominating 4-1 opening-round series win in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Head coach Bryan Murray is impressed with how his team followed the game plan throughout the series.
"Certainly, I thought we played very disciplined. I thought the work ethic on this team was really exceptional," Murray said during a conference call this morning. "The overall approach of our team was... don't give anything up and make sure we work hard, make sure we finish our checks. Almost anything the coaching staff has asked for the last little while, I thought we really (followed) to a large extent.
"The reward of coaching is when you ask guys to do something, they do it, and you win. I think now (the players) understand that if they do certain things against particular opponents, that you have a chance to be successful."
For their efforts, Murray returned a favour to the team by allowing the players two days off from practice. He wants them to rest their bumps and bruises and clear their minds.
"What we're doing this year is we're going to give them the two days off -- today and tomorrow -- and then we'll bring them back on Sunday. We'll get back into it pretty hard right away. I hope that overrides any negative things that time (off) would allow."
Senators general manager John Muckler says his team was exceptional in showing its playoff experience against Pittsburgh, but he feels the NHL hasn't heard the last of the Penguins in the playoffs.
"Pittsburgh is a tough opponent. They have some very good kids there. They just didn't have the experience to be able to compete with our hockey club, but they're going to have their turn. They're going to win the Stanley Cup before their careers are over."