Murray: Sens far from perfect

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Their record says the Senators have been perfect this season.

But the coach says there is still room for improvement. Heading into Game 7 on the schedule tonight, the Senators will put their unblemished 6-0 record on the line against the Hurricanes at the RBC Center.

And, after two days of unexpected practise following the postponement of Saturday's game vs. the Panthers due to Hurricane Wilma, Bryan Murray would like to see an upgrade in a couple of areas:

- He wants the players to use their skills more to attack the opposing team at the blue line and he believes if the Senators do that they will create more scoring chances.

- The power play is ranked fifth (21.6% success rate) in the NHL and Murray is trying to preach patience. He wants the Senators to be a little more "predictable" in the way they move the puck and not get upset if something doesn't work.

GOOD TEST

"If we were a little more predictable, then we'd be willing to stick with something a little longer and not give up on it so easily if it's not working. I don't want us to get frustrated so easily," said Murray.

That makes the Hurricanes a good test for Ottawa. A look at their lineup -- with the exceptions of defencemen Glen Wesley and Bret Hedican and centre Rod Brind'Amour -- indicates they are built around speed.

"I know some of those guys because I've had them in Detroit or Anaheim and I know the type of players they are. You look at this Carolina lineup and they've got some good players. They're pretty quick," said Murray.

MEASURING STICK

The 'Canes are looking forward to the challenge because they've performed above expectations this year and see the Senators as a good measuring stick.

"Ottawa is a great opportunity for us," said Carolina coach Peter Laviolette. "This is a good chance for us to see exactly where we stand. I'm not looking beyond this game. We need to focus on Ottawa because they are one of the top teams in the NHL."

AROUND THE BOARDS: Senators C Mike Fisher will be on the shelf tonight, but has told the coaching staff he expects to play Thursday vs. the Canadiens at the Corel Centre. Fisher's left shoulder sprain is a little more serious than originally thought. If he does in fact play against the Habs, Fisher will have missed two weeks. "When I was first told about the injury, I thought it was just going to be a couple of days and he would be fine," said Murray. "Obviously, I'd like to have the guy back, but the strength isn't quite where he wants it to be and so we're just going to wait." That means rookie LW Patrick Eaves will play vs. Carolina and will likely be shipped back to the club's AHL affiliate in Binghamton following the game ... Ottawa captain Daniel Alfredsson wasn't on the ice for practice yesterday because of a sore throat, but Murray said he will be in the lineup tonight. "He's going to be fine. It was bothering him and I told him maybe the best thing was for him to go back to the hotel and get some rest," said Murray ... Carolina D Aaron Ward, who grew up in Ottawa, played last year in Ingalstadt, Germany during the lockout and found most of the experience enjoyable. "As far as hockey goes, I think it was the best decision I could have made," said Ward. "But it was tough on my family. We were in a part of Bavaria that was very German and there wasn't much English spoken, so that was difficult for them." The atmosphere in the rink was the best part. "They would have 5,000 people, but it would sound like 15,000, they made that much noise," said Ward.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


Videos

Photos

Canoe Top Headlines