'A credible job'

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

NEW YORK -- Bryan Murray wore a look of disbelief when asked about the shocking news.

But the Senators coach was careful about passing judgment on the decision by New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello to fire coach Claude Julien and step behind the bench with only a week left in the regular season.

The decision came on the eve of the Senators' final regular-season visit to face the Devils at Continental Airlines Arena tonight, when Lamoriello will return to the bench for his second stint in two years.

"Coaching is a tough business," said Murray. "I don't know what the circumstances are. It's hard for me to even suggest I know one way or another or have an attitude one way or another.

"But I know (Julien) and I think if you have 102 points at this time of year, like we have, I think you've done a credible job."

Lamoriello has played this card before. He fired Robbie Ftorek on March 23, 2000, and replaced him with Larry Robinson. That year, the Devils went on to win the Stanley Cup. Murray said the move shouldn't change the game plan or approach tonight.

"We just have to play. It's all about how the players on either team accept what's happened anyway," said Murray. "We as coaches try to orchestrate a game plan and then give the players the opportunity to play the best they can play. The players have to do their thing."

TAKING A LOOK: The Senators aren't sure if they want the Devils they know or the devil they don't know named the Pittsburgh Penguins. Tonight in New Jersey and Thursday at Scotiabank Place, when the Penguins visit, the Senators will get a last look at both of their possible first-round opponents. And the Senators insist they don't prefer one over the other. "Right now, we're just trying to get home-ice advantage so that we have that extra edge if the series goes a little longer," said C Jason Spezza yesterday before the Senators' one-hour flight here. "Pick your poison: It's Marty Brodeur or all the young guys in Pittsburgh. It's going to be a tough series regardless."

OFF THE GLASS: Now that Julien has been fired, could he resurface in Boston? While GM Peter Chiarelli has declared coach Dave Lewis will be back, that could always change with Julien on the market. The Bruins fired Rick Bowness in 1992 because they wanted to hire Brian Sutter. Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault told TSN he's not concerned about anything like Julien's firing happening on the West Coast. "I don't have to worry. (GM Dave Nonis) is a (crappy) coach anyway ... He asked me this morning where the playbooks and lineup cards were, so I don't know what to make of that," said Vigneault ... An area Murray wants to see improvement: The power play. The Senators are coming off an 0-for-7 performance vs. the Isles Saturday and are 0-for-9 in their last two games. That's why time was spent in practice yesterday working on the power play. "We have to get back on the upswing," said Murray. "We had it going really well a couple of weeks ago, but now it's struggling to get pucks in the net. We have to draw a few more penalties and we have to get the puck in and get it organized quicker and stop trying to make plays ... I thought we put on a great passing clinic in Long Island. We had the puck and we moved it 25 times, but we didn't shoot. We've got all the passing skills down puck. Now, we have to shoot more often." ... The Senators should have D Anton Volchenkov (head cold) back in the lineup tonight. He went through practice yesterday. A decision on RW Patrick Eaves, who has missed the last two games with a groin injury, will be made this morning. "He wasn't very comfortable (yesterday), but he looked good out there and he skated well," said Murray about Eaves. "I'll just let him come on the trip and talk to him tomorrow." ... Brodeur, who picked up his 46th win of the season against Boston Sunday, needs one more victory to tie the regular-season record set by Philadelphia's Bernie Parent (47) in 1973-74, when the Flyers won their first Stanley Cup.


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