Senators' breakfast club

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

TAMPA -- Senators owner Eugene Melnyk met with GM Bryan Murray and coach John Paddock for breakfast yesterday.

Melnyk had some questions and they probably weren't along the lines of whether his hockey men like their eggs over easy or sunny side up.

Melnyk has been known to be somewhat intense regarding the performance of his hockey team and perhaps demonstrated that feeling after his team lost to the Panthers on Tuesday night, the club's fifth loss in its last six games.

Melnyk apparently spoke with a couple of players around the backdoor of the BankAtlantic Center and convened a meeting with his hockey braintrust yesterday morning.

Murray and Paddock stayed behind in Sunrise, Fla., when the team chartered out after the game to come here.

Melnyk had questions for his hockey men, probably the same kind of questions all Senators fan have right now, starting with how they could lose to the Panthers, a team they had beaten six straight times. Or how last year's Stanley Cup finalists could become so soft-boiled.

He might have also wondered why his team has now lost 17 of the 32 games it has played since starting the season 15-2 and what plans Murray and Paddock have to reverse that trend.

If he followed his custom, Melnyk likely promised Murray and Paddock his support. He then put them on his private jet and flew them here yesterday in time for the club's afternoon practice.

"Position wise, we're okay. We're not playing okay," said Murray of his club, still first in the Eastern Conference, but having its lead whittled down by the Canadiens and Devils. "We're playing uncommitted to defence. Every night now, we're giving up too many goals and we don't have enough respect for that side of the puck.

"I don't know (Tuesday) night how many 3-on-2s against, but quite a number. Based on that, we're disturbed. It's hard to turn a team around if you don't focus on the right things and right now the right things are playing good defence, being responsible and helping each other."

CALLED OUT

Murray and Paddock were still shaking their heads over the Panthers' goal which made it 4-2 for Florida early in the third.

A questionable play by forward Randy Robitaille, the high man, led to a 3-on-2 and goaltender Ray Emery didn't look good on a shot along the ice through the five-hole.

Pointing out there was plenty of blame to go around, Paddock pointedly said:

"That's the kind of shot that I think you need to make the save on."

"We gave up a couple of goals that should never be given up in the NHL," said Murray. "Men get caught up the ice and casually turn and you're the third man and they beat you down the ice and score. I don't know if Ray could have or should have had it or not. All I know is they had a man advantage in the slot and took advantage of it."

Murray said he intends to address the team today as they meet the Lightning in the Senators' final game before the all-star break this weekend.

"I'm going to have one little conversation with them (today) just about what they do on the break and the focus coming back," said Murray. "We have to get them back on track as far as commitment to playing the game right. When you give up goals the way we did again (Tuesday) night, we're not playing the game right."

As far as potential changes, Murray said he is still on the hunt.

"I think our team makeup overall is pretty good. I've said all along I'd really like to find one more forward and I would like to find one more defenceman. Can I do it and at the right price? We'll see," he said.

The heat is obviously getting turned up in the Ottawa camp from the owner on down.

And it's got nothing to do with the weather here.


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