Sens stand pat -- for now

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

SHORT HILLS, N.J. -- Bryan Murray likely won't play the role of Santa and deliver a new player to the Senators before the NHL's Christmas roster freeze tonight.

So far, Murray's efforts to shake up the roster have been for naught. The Senators GM has been working hard to try to help his struggling club, but has not been able to swing a deal.

Murray would like to trade for a puck-moving defenceman, but his offer of winger Antoine Vermette and defenceman Christoph Schubert hasn't drawn much interest from potential suitors.

The players insist they aren't expecting Murray to make a move. Instead, they believe if everybody on the current roster can get back on the same page, the team should have no problem regaining the form that has earned it a playoff spot for 11 straight seasons.

"Right now, and forever, you believe that you have the guys in the room to get it done," said defenceman Chris Phillips.

"We've shown signs of that this year. That's what we have to concentrate on: Believing in each other. It's when you stop doing that, it's just going to get worse out there."

Coach Craig Hartsburg said he is focused on getting the most out of the players he has and can't worry about potential trades Murray might make.

"We're here as coaches to work with this group to get (what we want) out of it. We're not here to decide we need this guy, this guy or this guy around the league," said Hartsburg.

A pivotal stretch

Winless in eight straight road games, the Senators will play nine of their next 10 games on the road while the world junior championship is held at Scotiabank Place starting Boxing Day. "We don't come out with the same mentality on the road: It's a very simple game on the road," said Hartsburg. "You have to have a good start, which means putting the puck in deep and having a good forecheck. We haven't done that enough. Throughout your lineup, if you don't have 20 guys on the road ready to do those things, you won't have success." The Senators haven't won away from home since a 2-1 victory over the Panthers Oct. 30. "We have a tough stretch of games and we've got to be better on the road," said Hartsburg.

Off the glass

Senators C Ilya Zubov didn't make the trip to New Jersey because his working visa expired. C Cody Bass was recalled from the club's AHL affiliate in Binghamton and could be sent back before the roster freeze tonight. Hartsburg said C Dean McAmmond is close to making a return from pneumonia. He will likely suit up for next Tuesday night's game against the Philadelphia Flyers ... Former Senators G Ray Emery, who is playing in Russia, is doing a media tour in Toronto during the holiday break. Wednesday he was on Toronto's The Fan 590. Tonight, he'll be on TSN's Off the Record (6 p.m.). He said he doesn't take any pleasure in his former team's struggles. "I love those guys up there," Emery said of his former Ottawa teammates. "Those guys are my buddies. Any time your buddies are having a tough time, that's not a good thing." He said he expects to return to Russia again next season, especially after hearing some of the stories from his former teammates about Ottawa's struggles. "I'd say I'm about 80/20 staying in Russia (next year)," he said. "I like it there. I'm comfortable there, and as it goes on, I'm more and more comfortable there. Especially talking to some of my buddies up there in Ottawa, I remember what that was like. I know how I feel right now. There's nothing wrong, so there's no need for change." ... Retired Senators D Luke Richardson made his first appearance on the ice as an assistant coach yesterday.


Videos

Photos