Sens have unfinished job

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

The Senators can handle the short summers.

It's the being able to enjoy them part that needs work.

Coming off their first trip to the Stanley Cup final -- a five-game loss to the Anaheim Ducks in June -- the Senators returned to work yesterday with dreams of a better finish.

As the players went through their medical and physical testing at Scotiabank Place to open training camp, they were already discussing what it will take to return to the final.

"We've talked about (how tough it is to get back to the final) so much, that everybody knew going into the summer that they shouldn't take too much time off," said centre Jason Spezza. "We knew we had to prepare for the coming season.

"We got really close. We made some good strides and we feel we can get back there. The closer you get, the hungrier and hungrier you get, and I would guess that's where we are."

The Senators promise there will not be a letdown.

It took many players in the organization a long time to get to a final and they've spent the summer replaying in their minds what happened against the Ducks.

LOSING "FRUSTRATING"

Nobody is satisfied just making it to the big dance.

"It's always frustrating after you lose," said captain Daniel Alfredsson. "If you don't make the playoffs, it's no fun. If you lose in the first, second, third or (the final), you're disappointed.

"As close as we were, it's tough. But that's the way it is, we weren't good enough in the final and now we have to look forward to a new challenge."

One of those challenges will be adjusting to a new coach and GM, sort of.

Coach Bryan Murray replaced John Muckler as the GM and Murray replaced himself with assistant coach John Paddock.

Murray and Paddock held a team dinner and meeting last night.

On the ice, winger Peter Schaefer was dealt to Boston for winger and former 67's star Shean Donovan, while centre Mike Comrie and defenceman Tom Preissing left via free agency.

After the club's golf tournament today at The Marshes, the Senators will hold their first skate tomorrow at 9 a.m. at the Bell Sensplex.

"I don't think the message is anything different," said Paddock. "There's 30 teams tied for first place right now. Everybody is in the same boat. We expect to be able to draw on the experience we had last year, the success that we had, and to come back with just as much hunger.

"You don't play in June right away. It's a long way off in October, (but) you start preparing for that right away and that's obviously this organization's goal."


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