Humbled Sens 'have to be better'

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

WASHINGTON -- Senators coach Bryan Murray decided against cracking the whip yesterday.

Instead of holding a practice or calling a meeting in the wake of Monday's brutal 8-3 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers, all Murray did was organize an off-ice workout yesterday. His actions spoke louder than any harsh words.

Preparing to face the Washington Capitals tonight at the MCI Center (7 p.m., TSN, RDS), Murray will meet with the players to discuss what happened. But they need little in the way of reminders about how bad it got on Monday.

"I don't think you can dwell on a game like that. You just have to move on. We're big boys ... We know what happened," said Senators centre Jason Spezza, who may not suit up tonight because he's still troubled by a chest injury that forced him to miss five games. "He could have come in the room yelled and screamed and read the riot act and we would have took it like men. He could have punished us if he'd wanted and we would have completely understood why he was upset.

"We know it was a bad loss and we know we didn't play the way we can. I don't think you should ever lose that way. I know that some people think it's good for a team to have that happen, but I don't think so. It's embarrassing and we don't want to see it happen again."

That's why Murray didn't want to overreact. While it's the first time the Senators surrendered eight goals in a game since Nov. 7, 1998, Murray believes meetings with "a couple of individuals" and a video session this morning should be all that's necessary to set the right tone today.

"You can't get all wrapped up and emotional about losing one game and you're going to have games like that in an 82-game schedule," said Murray. "I think what you have to do sometimes is just let it go for the day. You have to be logical and not be emotional.

"We're going to have a skate (today) and then express the disappointment (by using video). We have to play better than that. It's better that we lost the way we did because I thought we were careless and we didn't do the things we were capable of doing. We gave up too much.

"We didn't play our style and that is respect."

But Senators defenceman Wade Redden, who couldn't remember ever being -4 in a game until Monday, believed the club allowed Thrashers players like Atlanta's Marian Hossa, Ilya Kovalchuk and Slava Kozlov free rein to skate at will.

"I don't think it was a lack of respect, I think it may have been too much respect," said Redden, who is the acting captain in Daniel Alfredsson's absence with a cracked rib. "I don't think when you look at a lineup with guys like Hossa, Kovalchuk and Marc Savard, you can't take a team like that seriously.

"I think the problem was we really didn't challenge them. It's disappointing that we would come out and play that way.

"We have to be better."

The Senators also have to be careful. Tonight, they're facing one of the league's bottom-feeders in the Capitals.

"I remember when I was coaching in Anaheim and we were just like Washington is right now," said Murray. "Well, I think we went something like 18-13-7 in the second half of the season. We've got to be ready. Washington has some good players like (Alexander) Ovechkin and (Olaf) Kolzig."


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