Coach: Sens have to be set for battle

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:35 AM ET

Bryan Murray thinks he has the solution to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Ottawa Senators need to get better. Murray sees a Senators team that, bluntly put, played scared.

"The message that came out of the Toronto series is they just intimidated the hell out of Ottawa at times," said Murray.

After the teams had split the first two games, Murray said, "then they got punched in the back of the head and things like that in the later stages of the game when it really didn't mean anything, but Toronto was sending a message."

The message from Murray for the Senators is it won't be enough to just add some toughness. The club's top players all need to grow their games.

Captain Daniel Alfredsson needs to stop trying to do it all by himself and ...

Said Murray: "We have to get better by a notch in the top spots. I think (Marian) Hossa will get better. (Martin) Havlat has a chance, but he just won't pay the price right now to be a little better. Spezza, his career will take off.

"Wade Redden is going to be better. He has got to show more emotion. He's going to have the freedom to get involved a little more often, do more as a player. "He's such a laid-back, good guy, good player, (but) he's just played on his talent to this point.

"If we can add a little bit of something to that third line, then we'll be pretty good up front."

And on defence?

"Chris Phillips has played well in the playoffs. Why can't he do it for 80 games? (Zdeno) Chara? The toughest guy in the league, probably.

"If Gary (Roberts) or whoever is running around, look after it. Don't let that happen any more ...

"Todd Simpson, if we have you, you are going to play against Tie Domi. Get that corrected right away.

"The way Gary and Tie played against Ottawa, it opens the door for the Sundins and everybody else to play their game because they know full well they are being looked after," said Murray.

"You've got to battle and show your teammates if you play well for us, we'll look after you. we'll help you.

"It's all about messages and trust. The other players have to know, the other team has to know. They are going to have to fight now."

Music to Senators fans' ears.

chris.stevenson@ott.sunpub.com


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