Fresh start for Senators

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

The slate has been wiped cleaned.

Before the Senators hit the ice yesterday for the first time in the Craig Hartsburg era, the new coach met with the 54 players in camp to let them know what he expected from them and to put last season in the past.

A season that ended with an embarrassing first-round sweep against the Penguins -- one year after the Senators reached the Stanley Cup final.

Hartsburg wants his players to look forward to the new season.

"He wants us to be a hard-working club and he wants to have everybody on board," said centre Jason Spezza. "The scorers have got to score, our checkers have got to check and, for the most part, everybody has got to play a very similar style.

TOUGH BUT FAIR

"(Hartsburg) played the game and he knows how it is. We've got a short period of time (before the season starts) and we can't completely change the identity of our team, but there are some things that need to be tweaked to help us be successful for the whole 82 games."

Those who know Hartsburg say he's going to be tough but fair. So far, the players are impressed.

"He wants us to focus on the new season. He wants us to forget about last season and he wants us to show a new identity," said Senators defenceman Christoph Schubert. "He wants us to be mentally strong going into the season.

"If we make a bad play, don't dump on yourself. Just focus on the new shift and getting the job done. He wants us to be physically strong, mentally strong and he wants us to keep things positive. He's got a positive attitude and that's what he wants to show us right now."

54 PLAYERS AT CAMP

With the regular season set to begin two weeks from Saturday in Stockholm vs. the Penguins, GM Bryan Murray and Hartsburg don't have much time to make roster decisions.

The Senators have a big camp with 54 players -- split into three groups which include 10 forwards, six defencemen and two goaltenders -- but that won't last long with the opening of the exhibition schedule Saturday against the Rangers.

Hartsburg wanted a big group at the start of camp to see where players stood. Youngsters like Jesse Winchester, Nick Foligno, Brian Lee and Cody Bass are going to get the chance to play regularly this season.

Hartsburg made it clear to that there are certain expectations about the way the job gets done.

"We tried to talk (to the players) about what we want to be and the identity that we're going to try to build here with the group," said Hartsburg. "I think they all kind of wanted to know what was coming.

"I tried to talk to them about that. I wanted to let them know that, 'This is what I believe in and what I'm going to try to instil in our team.' It's not just me, it's the whole coaching staff. Obviously, (Murray) believes in the same things or I wouldn't be here."

Captain Daniel Alfredsson isn't surprised by Hartsburg's approach.

"Every year everybody has to look ahead," said Alfredsson. "It doesn't really matter what happened the year before. You have to go in and prove yourselves again. That's no different than it is for us."


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