Muckler likes new-look Sens

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

Senators GM John Muckler has a message for Ottawa hockey fans: Get excited.

As the Senators prepare to open their main camp Tuesday with medicals at the Corel Centre, Muckler said yesterday the changes made to the club in the last 16 months indicate the organization's commitment to improve.

The Senators will go to camp with a new look that includes goalie Dominik Hasek, winger Dany Heatley and coach Bryan Murray.

"People should be excited because we've given them something to be excited about," said Muckler. "We could have made no changes and gone into this season with the same players, but that wouldn't have made us a winner. This shows we're not satisfied.

SHOOTING HIGH

"We're trying to win here and we're not going to settle for anything less than a Stanley Cup. Did we make the right moves? That's a good question, but it won't be answered until we step on the ice. It would have been easy for us to go with the same guys."

Gone are centre Radek Bonk, winger Marian Hossa, goalie Patrick Lalime and coach Jacques Martin.

But Muckler wouldn't comment on a Sun report that he also considered dealing winger Martin Havlat to Carolina for gritty winger Erik Cole before the Hossa-for-Heatley deal was completed.

Muckler said he's done dealing for the moment and doesn't anticipate any other changes before camp opens. Prior to the season opener on Oct. 5, he'll sit down with his staff -- including assistant GM Peter Chiarelli and Murray -- to decide whether more changes are necessary.

"Everybody is in a mode right now where they want to look at what they've got," said Muckler. "I don't think as a GM you ever say you're done because it's that old line about always wanting to improve your team.

"We like our hockey club. We're going to spend the next couple of weeks seeing where we're at and then we're going to make some decisions. We've got to find out in camp where everybody is going to fit in."

Muckler said the club would like to re-sign defencemen Zdeno Chara and Wade Redden, who will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the 2005-06 season, but talks have been put on hold.

"We're just going to let them play right now," Muckler said. "They're under contract for this year and that's something we'll look at."

ROOKIES LOSE: The Senators rookies dropped a 3-1 decision to the Hurricanes last night at the Corel Centre. Sean Stafanski scored for the Sens while Mike Strathopolous had two for Carolina and Craig Voakes chipped in with a single.


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