Sens better than expected so far
Bruce Garrioch, QMI Agency
|Ottawa Senators' Colin Greening (L) and Jason Spezza celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during their NHL hockey game in Edmonton November 17, 2011. (REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber)
VANCOUVER - Bryan Murray isn’t ready to roll the dice ... yet.
The Senators GM is pleased the club is sitting in a playoff spot at the quarter mark of the NHL schedule, but he’s not prepared to start trading top prospects just to make sure there’s post-season hockey in the spring.
He said he’ll sit down with assistant GM Tim Murray, top scout Pierre Dorion, coach Paul MacLean and the rest of the staff later in the season to see if there might be something they want to add.
“Going forward, we may address an issue if we feel there is one,” said Murray. “Obviously, management and coaches will talk as we get toward the next 20 games and see if there is something realistic that we can add to the team that will make us better. Then we’ll see what the cost is.”
There are still questions about second-line centre Stephane Da Costa, who has shown flashes of being able to get the job done, but needs to be more consistent.
If the Senators can get more out of the second line of Nick Foligno, captain Daniel Alfredsson and Da Costa, then it will take pressure off the likes of Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and Colin Greening, who have carried the offensive load.
But Murray said the options to make changes are limited and he’s not sure he wants to upset the chemistry. He will not do that at the expense of the future, but sources say the Senators remain intered in Phoenix C Kyle Turris.
“Right now, we think we have five or six more (prospects) that are coming that will play on our team in the future,” said Murray. “I’m not likely to spend a lot of that unless there’s a sure-bet player — and there never is a sure-bet player.
MacLean isn’t screaming for help with the club sitting at 10-9-1 after a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers Thursday. It’s certainly way above pre-season expectations from many.
“My expectations were, we were picked to be last, we earned that distinction somehow and I think, at this point in time, we are a little better than that,” said MacLean.
“We’re still working to be better every day and we’ve gone through some adversity which has helped to make us stronger. We’ve had some success, some adversity and now we’re having success again. That’s kind of what we expected with the type of players we have. At this time, we’re really pleased to be where we are.”
Why wouldn’t they be? The Senators were sitting in a playoff spot going into Friday night. MacLean rewarded the players with a day off before hitting the ice Saturday to prepare for Sunday’s game in Vancouver.
“Being above .500 after the first 20 games, especially after changing a number of the players, certainly I’m satisfied and I’m more satisfied because we had a streak at the beginning where we didn’t look like a very good team,” said Murray.
“The good thing is, history tells me that you should get a little better as you go forward. Young players will grow, get used to the league somewhat and be able to produce more consistently.”