|Ottawa Senators General Manager John Muckler pauses for a moment during a news conference at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa Tuesday, May 16, 2006. Muckler took questions from the media regarding the Senators performance in the playoffs.(CP PHOTO/Jonathan Hayward)
Keep the faith.
That was the message from Senators GM John Muckler and president Roy Mlakar during a press conference this morning at Scotiabank Place as they discussed the club's elimination from the playoffs.
Muckler told reporters during the 30-minute session he doesn't believe the Senators need too many changes to win a Stanley Cup ... and even left the door open for goalie Dominik Hasek to make a return -- a sharply different message from that given by coach Bryan Murray just a day earlier.
"We have to change our ways. We have to change our approach. I still believe in this team and I believe it's a very good hockey club. It's not the first time a hockey club has stumbled and not accomplished its goal. Many great teams have stumbled at some time and not acccomplished their goal," said Muckler.
Only 24 hours after coach Murray made it clear that he at least doesn't want any more to do with Hasek, Muckler said he wants to sit down with the 42-year-old before making a final decision on whether to cut him loose.
Hasek missed the final three months of the season with an adductor muscle injury he suffered during the Olympics. Muckler said he is against players going to the Olympics and maintained he got the right diagnosis from club doctors -- nor does he believe that Hasek quit on the team.
"We weren't misled at all. I felt he was going to get back. I still think that was the best deal that we had at that particular time," said Muckler.
Senators president Roy Mlakar revealed he and Muckler will meet with owner Eugene Melnyk to discuss what's next. A significant part of the discussion will be what the club is going to do with free agent defencemen Zdeno Chara and Wade Redden. Both expressed in meetings with Muckler Monday they would like to return, but both will be costly to re-sign should the club attempt to keep them as anchors along the blue line.
"(Melnyk's) a battler and he wants to have success," said Mlakar.