Clouston thriving in Ottawa

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

OTTAWA -- In his younger days, Cory Clouston used to dream about playing for the Edmonton Oilers. Later, he dreamed of coaching them.

Last night, the interim head coach of the Ottawa Senators, a former University of Alberta Golden Bear, had to settle for beating them. Not a bad consolation prize.

"It was a great time in my life," Clouston said of his U of A days. "We had good teams, went to the national championship a few times; in 1991-92 we came away with a win. And I learned a lot from coach Moores."

Coach Moores is Oilers assistant Billy Moores, who coached Clouston back in his university days.

"What I learned from him is how I created my foundation and how I started the progression to where I am right now," said the 39-year-old from Viking. "He was a really big influence on me."

Clouston is hoping he can influence the Senators to the point that management removes the interim tag from his title. It's a long road, given how the hockey club has underachieved this season, but he is making progress (7-5-3, with a team that was seven games under .500 when he took over).

"He's brought a fresh attitude in and the team responded," said Sens centre Jason Spezza. "He's a pretty hard guy, pretty set in his systems. He runs really good practices, he's up tempo and he's pretty vocal behind the bench."

Clouston, like the rest of the Sens, has a month left to prove himself before management takes a long, hard look at every aspect of the franchise.

"This is his first team, so he's looking to establish himself as a good NHL coach," said Spezza. "He wants to work with us, we want to work with him. It's been good for us, we've played a lot better."

It's tough, though, when there's a quarter of the season left and all you have left to play for is pride.

"Normally we're fighting for home ice," said Spezza. "Now we're fighting for our pride and to salvage the season. We're just trying to build some confidence in the room again. We'd lost some and we're trying to get it back. For us, it's more about creating a better culture around here."


Videos

Photos