Big deals brought results

Ottawa Senators coach Bryan Murray is waiting to see what GM John Muckler does before the NHL trade...

Ottawa Senators coach Bryan Murray is waiting to see what GM John Muckler does before the NHL trade deadline. (Sun Media File/Errol McGihon)

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:09 AM ET

Things changed at last year's trade deadline.

After years of NHL trade deadline deals not having much impact on teams' playoff fortunes, the Oilers and the Hurricanes both went to the final after significant deals down the stretch.

That fact won't go unnoticed this year.

The Senators' coaches and players are waiting to see what GM John Muckler does this year.

Things have already started shaking out with the Flames grabbing defenceman Brad Stuart and forward Wayne Primeau from Boston on the weekend.

"Certainly as a coach, you want to add a player, at least," Senators coach Bryan Murray said yesterday.

He has been on both sides of the fence, having been a GM at the deadline as well. He added veteran Steve Thomas to the Anaheim roster for its run to the Cup final in 2003.

The Oilers went out and got goalie Dwayne Roloson and Carolina GM Jim Rutherford brought in forwards Doug Weight and Mark Recchi last year.

Big deals. Big results.

"The biggest thing to me always has been the message you send to your team," said Murray. "The type of player you add ... the message that was sent to Carolina is they went out and got two veteran guys that have played and have a reputation in the league and it was: 'Hey, see, we told you: We're trying to win here.'

"If that kind of message is a positive one to the team, then you get a nice response. Whether he gets absorbed properly into the lineup or not, that's another issue. I think the Stuart-Primeau move for Calgary gives them a little stimulation now that they're getting playoff-type guys. I always thought you tried to help as much as you can that way."

Senators goalie Martin Gerber, who gets the start tonight vs. Florida, saw firsthand the impact Recchi and Weight had with the Hurricanes last year.

"Jimmy Rutherford left no doubt about it, what he was going for. After the deadline, everybody knew what the stakes were. There wasn't any hoping. It was just you take a run at it and see how it ends up. From that day on, it was just one mindset," Gerber said.

The players were waiting to see what Rutherford would do, said Gerber, and got a huge boost with the additions.

"We didn't really know if something was going to happen, if it's a money issue or whatever. Then they make the announcement and it's pretty good to be on a team with those two guys," said Gerber. "You see what they have achieved in their life and the type of players they are and added to the players we had there ... it was a really fun experience to be on such an experienced team."

Gerber likes what he sees with this Senators team and said it matches up favourably with the Hurricanes.

"We have very comparable players, I think," said Gerber. "We have the core offensive guys, defensive guys. We have the pieces of the puzzle to be successful.

"Definitely bringing in Dougie Weight and Mark Recchi was a huge boost for (the Hurricanes), especially into the playoffs with all the experience they have, there's no doubt about it. I don't know if it would have happened if we didn't have those guys.

"You look around here and you look at the way we've played the last few months we can beat any team in the league at any given time. Everybody knows that and it's good for the confidence level, too."

MURRAY'S NOT WORRIED: Murray said he doesn't see the need to talk to G Ray Emery in light of his suspension for three games for hitting Montreal's Maxim Lapierre with his stick. "This is the first incident in his NHL career. Am I going to talk about it? It's been talked about enough. I'm not going to talk to him about it. He'll be fine," said Murray.


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