Having bench clearing ball

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

Jacques Martin and Bryan Murray may have similar backgrounds, but their coaching styles are completely different.

Martin grew up in Rockland, while Murray made his home in Shawville. Both started their coaching careers in the Central Junior Hockey League and climbed their way up to the NHL.

That would be where the similarities end.

Senators fans are going to notice a big difference with the guy currently behind the bench and not just because the 61-year-old Murray has a little more grey hair than Martin.

Martin wouldn't scream fire if his pants were alight, while Murray isn't afraid to say what he thinks. He may have worked for Disney (former owner of the Mighty Ducks), but he didn't buy into the philosophy of not criticizing the employees.

And Murray has tried to send his message early. The rules in the dressing room have changed and he's making sure the players have discipline. He's not going to put up with any complaints and wants captain Daniel Alfredsson to handle any problems that may arise in the locker room.

"We've already noticed a difference," Senators centre Mike Fisher said following practice recently. "Especially behind the bench. He's talking all the time and he's the kind of guy who is going to stick up for his players.

"He's really demanded that we play with a lot of emotion and we stick up for each other as a team. He wants us to play tough and that's something we haven't really heard here before. It's just a different way of thinking. The change has been refreshing and we're hearing a lot more talking behind the bench than we did before."

The Senators couldn't afford to keep losing in the post-season with the same old cast of characters -- which is why GM John Muckler felt he needed to make a change behind the bench. The fact Muckler and Martin differed in opinion when it came to the style the Senators should play made the decision to fire Martin that much easier.

Murray's practices have been completely different than those of Martin. Murray is spending a lot of time teaching, but he's stressing the fact he wants offensive players like Alfredsson, Martin Havlat, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza to use their speed to their advantage -- especially with the NHL's crackdown on obstruction.

"We've got good skills and I want this team to use the skill we've got," says Murray.

Part of the problem with Martin was the players got tired of hearing "work harder" from when things weren't going their way. It had just become too routine -- something Murray has addressed.

"I think we were in a situation (with Martin) where we knew all the drills by heart," said Alfredsson. "We'd do some different things, but you kind of knew what was going to happen day-to-day."

The biggest difference fans will notice with the fiery Murray will come from behind the bench.

Unlike Martin, who would often just stare at the clock when he didn't think the officials were being fair, Murray isn't afraid to raise his voice. Just the other night in Wilkes-Barre, Murray was involved in a jawing match with Pittsburgh coach Eddie Olczyk because the Penguins were upset with a little scuffle taking place at the end of the game.

"We're going to be a different team ... There's no question about it," said Fisher. "Jacques was a great coach, but after eight years there was a good chance there was going to be a change. Things have been different around here."


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