Dads bring Sens good luck on road trip

DON BRENNAN, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

BOSTON — The word going around the visitors dressing room at TD Garden late Monday afternoon was that Senators GM Brian Murray now has a contract to renegotiate.

Not with one of his players, but with the players’ fathers.

“I’m not letting them go home until we lose,” Murray joked after Ottawa’s 5-1 dismantling of a Bruins team it was previously 0-4 against this season.

Judging by all the smiling faces, that would be an easy deal to get done.

Joining the Senators for what was originally to be just a wonderful father-son long weekend were: Hasse Alfredsson, Gino Campoli, Dennis Carkner, Mervin Cheechoo, Brian Donovan, Bill Elliott, Jim Fisher, Jonas Karlsson, Blair Morlock (Chris Kelly), Barry Neil, Mario Picard, Regin Jensen (Peter Regin), Harri Ruutu, Patrick Shannon and Rino Spezza.

With dads in tow, the boys are 2-0, having outscored divisional rivals Montreal and Boston by a combined 9-3 count. Impressive? Even more so when you consider that, in the six games prior to their pops showing up, the Senators were 1-5 and had been outscored 22-7 during that stretch.

Now, you could argue that the Senators started to turn it around Thursday, when they blanked the Rangers 2-0. And I’ll contend that the players realized they better smarten up in a hurry, with their dads arriving the next morning.

Any magic this father-son thing has will be put to the ultimate test tonight with a visit from the NHL’s best team, the Blackhawks. Prior to the opening faceoff, Senators fans at Scotiabank Place should welcome the heroes home from this road trip with a standing ovation.

Oh, and maybe applaud the players, too.

“It’s good for the players to have their fathers around, and a nice treat for the fathers,” said Murray. “They get a chance to see firsthand what their sons go through, the commitment that’s required, the time that’s required to get ready for games and how hard they actually have to play and practise every day on the road. For the player and the boy to have his father around, it’s incentive to play hard and certainly, when you win, I’m sure it’s quite rewarding for them.”

Murray was asked if he believes men in their 20s and 30s are still trying to impress their dads.

“Oh sure,” he said. “Aren’t we all?

“I came back to Ottawa because my parents were around Shawville. I had a chance to go back and be in that environment where they could see us work every day, or every night, and hopefully enjoy it. I think it’s the same thing. I don’t think you ever lose that. I hope as a person you don’t lose that relationship with your parents.”

Didn’t the Pittsburgh Pirates win a World Series in the 1970s to the tune We Are Family? Maybe it’s a song the Senators should adopt.

Starts and stops

Ottawa fans are way easy on their goalies. Tim Thomas, who gave up two goals on only three shots in the first period, was jeered by the B’s faithful when he caught a long flip in from Erik Karlsson. What winning streak against Ottawa? What spot on the Olympic team? What Vezina Trophy? What have you done for me lately, Timmy T.? “They paid their money, they can do what they want,” said Thomas. “But I don’t have to like it.”

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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