Players on side with 'fair' coach

DON BRENNAN AND CHRIS STEVENSON

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

Craig Hartsburg will offer a fresh voice in meetings and behind the bench. It does not have to be a loud message to sink in, says Jason Spezza.

"That was expected after the way the season ended for us," Spezza said when asked if a disciplinarian was needed behind the bench.

"I was disappointed the way some of the media painted the team, how it was dysfunctional and we didn't get along, how we needed a coach to come in and straighten out the problem in the (dressing) room. That's a stretch.

"We'll have a fresh voice now and we're ready to accept the challenge and prove ... the picture painted of our team might be a little off."

Ray Emery and Brian McGrattan played for Hartsburg in the Soo, and both told Spezza the team is getting a "fair" coach.

FELLOW BLUELINER

Defenceman Chris Phillips appreciates that a former all-star blueliner is at the helm.

"I like that he has those qualities, the same with John Paddock before him and (former assistant coach) Donnie Jackson before that," said Phillips. "I think it's great to have someone in there that has played the game.

Mike Fisher also had a good feeling about Hartsburg.

"I'm excited about what I think he can bring, and about what type of person I've heard he is."

Most importantly is the fact Hartsburg is a proven winner, added Antoine Vermette.

"I don't know much about him, but the big thing is he's won a couple of things, especially with the juniors," said Vermette. "He's played the game as well and I think that adds to the message when he tells you something."


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