Sens GM OK with underdog status

Ottawa Senators Bryan Murray speaks during  a media availability at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa...

Ottawa Senators Bryan Murray speaks during a media availability at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa on Tuesday May 22, 2007. (SEAN KILPATRICK/QMI File)

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:09 PM ET

For what it's worth, the Senators are being picked by The Hockey News to finish the 2010-11 season 10th in the Eastern Conference.

Apparently, GM Bryan Murray doesn't think it's worth very much.

"Perfect," Murray replied when told of the publication's prognostication.

What pressure is there when you're already being counted out of the playoffs? Of course, as much as he might welcome the underdog role and lowered expectations, Murray also knows that missing the post-season tournament is considered unacceptable in Ottawa. So is an early-round playoff exit, generally.

The Hockey News says that while the Senators did bolster their 21st-ranked power play with the addition of free-agent defenceman Sergei Gonchar, they made no moves to "address a shaky situation in goal." The magazine doesn't like the fact that it looks like Brian Elliott and Pascal Leclaire will be left to guard the fort.

THN also states that, without their 11-game winning streak last winter, the Senators wouldn't have finished as high as they did, when they pulled in fifth with 94 points.

Picked to wind up atop the East by THN are the Washington Capitals, while the magazine says Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Buffalo, Tampa Bay and Montreal will round out the playoff picture.

Stirling signing

Cory Clouston is now the third-most experienced NHL coach in the Senators organization, behind Murray and Steve Stirling. The 60-year-old Stirling has been signed as an assistant to Kurt Kleinendorst in Binghamton, the club announced Thursday. Stirling, who last coached in Germany two seasons ago, was in the Islanders organization from 2001-2006. He was the bench boss of the NHL team for 124 games (Clouston has coached 116 regular-season games) and guided the Islanders to the playoffs in the 2003-04 season.


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