No Chara, no Havlat, no concession

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:52 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Daniel Alfredsson is not buying the idea that his club has missed its best shot at winning the Stanley Cup.

With stars such as defenceman Zdeno Chara, forward Martin Havlat and goalie Dominik Hasek now receiving NHL paycheques in other cities, the Ottawa Senators are not necessarily being lumped in with clubs that are favoured hoist the Cup next spring.

"I don't think we look at it any differently if we're ranked high by the media or not," Alfredsson, the Senators captain, said. "We have high expectations of ourselves.

"The main thing for us is if we make the playoffs, we know we are going to have a chance to win the Cup."

Alfredsson fully expects the Sens to be back in the post-season, but can see where the questions are coming from.

Neither Chara nor Havlat have been replaced by equal parts, and though Hasek seemed to have issues on a weekly basis, he played well when he was not injured.

As Andrew Raycroft is for the Maple Leafs, goalie Martin Gerber is pivotal to the Senators' success. Though Gerber lost the starter's role to Cam Ward in the Carolina Hurricanes' Cup run, he was stellar during the regular season, winning 38 games.

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"We all know what Gerber did last year with Carolina, how solid he was, how consistent he was,"Alfredsson said.

"If we play well in front of him, he is going to be there for us."

As far as differences go, both Alfredsson and Senators coach Bryan Murray expect their provincial rivals to give them a new look this season.

"They really beefed up their defence (with Pavel Kubina and Hal Gill) and they are big and strong back there,"Alfredsson said.

"I think we will probably see more of a skating team with the new coach (Paul)Maurice. His teams have always played an up-tempo game."

When Murray initially was asked about what changes he figures he will see under Maurice after the firing of Pat Quinn, Murray said it would be hard for him to say. But then he offered some thoughts.

"I think Paul is going to want to play a pace game, and probably younger players will play more often and more of an important role,"Murray said. "Pat was very comfortable with the veteran guys. I really like Pat Quinn. I respected him. I think he was a very good coach for a long time in this league."


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