Alfie: It's on the players

BRUCE GARRIOCH, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

BUFFALO -- Daniel Alfredsson is standing by his men.

The Senators captain said yesterday that GM Bryan Murray doesn't need to make changes, despite the team being 12th in the NHL's Eastern Conference.

In his view, coach Craig Hartsburg shouldn't be relieved of his duties because the players have to get their act together to get this team going in the right direction.

Alfredsson, whose opinion counts within the Senators' inner sanctum, pointed out the inconsistent play started before ex-coach John Paddock was fired last February.

He believes players should be the ones held accountable because they've been given a good plan by Hartsburg and haven't got the job done.

"I don't know when it started last year, but it's not something that I believe a new coach coming in and changing everything (is going to change anything)," said Alfredsson following a 30-minute skate at the HSBC Arena.

'PLAYING REALLY HARD'

"I think we've shown lately that we're playing really hard. I feel (change) is not the way to go. It's up to us to find a way to win games. We play pretty good, but then we find ways to lose instead of finding ways to win.

"It can be the power play one day, the penalty kill another or if we need a big save one day, it's just not happening for us. Obviously, the easy thing is to make changes and hope for something that's going to work. We tried that last year. It didn't go much better. It's up to us to make it work."

As the world junior championship wrapped up at Scotiabank Place last night, the speculation that Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson and former Toronto Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn could be brought in was gaining steam.

No one is certain what Senators owner Eugene Melnyk will do. He, Quinn and Nicholson have spent a lot of time together over the past month due to the Senators' involvement with the event.

WINDS OF CHANGE

There is talk moves are imminent.

Coming off a 4-3 overtime loss to the New Jersey Devils Sunday, the Senators have lost 14 of their last 15 road games.

The club has just three of a possible 12 points after six games of this eight-game road swing and need to turn it around tonight vs. the Buffalo Sabres.

Senators centre Jason Spezza said he's surprised with how bad the club is playing.

"I didn't expect it to be this bad or this hard to win hockey games," said Spezza, who has frequently been the subject of trade rumours because of his inconsistent play. It just seems like it's a struggle for us to win every night. It's definitely a little bit frustrating and shocking."

"We've just got to keep persevering. You have to think of things that you do well, you did well and just try to do them.

"It's a tough situation. It's a situation that a lot of us aren't used to being in and the rumours come with just being a losing hockey club.

"In this situation, there's going to be constant talk about changes when you're not winning. We hear it and everybody hears it. You have to try to block it out on game day and try to think back about what you do well.

"Everybody just has to focus on what they do well. Winning breeds confidence and if we can get a few wins we can get some confidence. But, it's hard to get confidence when you're not winning."


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