Murray likes team's chances

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

Bryan Murray's celebration of making it to the Stanley Cup final as a coach for the first time was a simple one on Sunday.

He spoke to his 87-year-old mother, Rhoda, who called early in the day from Shawville. He went for a coffee. Then he watched Game 5 of the Western Conference final between Anaheim and Detroit.

Pretty exciting stuff, eh?

Murray is putting things in perspective. Capturing the Eastern Conference title was nice, but it's all about the Stanley Cup for a lifelong hockey man.

"I thought our team, over the course of the playoffs, had played real well and I thought we had this opportunity right from the Pittsburgh series," said Murray. "I'm not shocked (we're in the final). I guess my expectations were we'd be a very serious contender and, for me today, it's coming back and going to work. We've got to get these guys ready to play.

"We're all excited. We all know we have to keep our heads about us. We suggested that to the players: They'll have many friends now. They should focus on what happens going forward."

The Senators could find out tonight who they're going to play in the final if the Ducks knock off the Wings to win the Western final.

It makes no difference to Murray who Ottawa plays for the Cup.

"As you play each team, you have to have a plan and you get to know the personnel fairly quickly," said Murray. "We try to prepare the guys in the early part of the series on what they have to do against particular people.

"My main focus is our team, what we can do and we what we have to do. When we find out who it is, then we'll jump on that."

Some pundits never thought the Senators would get this far when the club was struggling in November, but Murray believes a vote of confidence from owner Eugene Melnyk went a long way in helping the players set a course for success.

"That had a big impact. The fact that Mr. Melnyk stepped up and said, 'We're with you,' was a big factor. Sometimes it scares us in coaching because we've heard that a few times in the past, but when the players hear that, it sends a reassurance we are doing the right things and we are going forward and we do have a chance here," said Murray.

Murray said the fact that only winger Oleg Saprykin and goalie Martin Gerber have been to the final doesn't really matter because the Senators have learned a lot by knocking off Pittsburgh, New Jersey and Buffalo in the first three rounds of the playoffs.

"The way we're playing now, they've got lots of experience. They haven't been in the finals, but how many players (in) the league really have?" said Murray. "For the majority of us, we're going in kind of fresh and excited. I think that's okay. I suppose if it came down to Game 7 and the pressure of it, maybe having been there one time before would help."

OFF THE GLASS: Senators G Ray Emery said it'd be great to get the chance to play against former Ottawa G Dominik Hasek and the Wings in the final. "It's always cool playing against a legend like that," said Emery. "He's a buddy of mine from playing here and I learned a lot off him. It would be cool for me to get the chance." ... Murray said he has tempered the celebration because there is work to do. "We know a lot of these players deserve a pat on the back for the hard work they've put in, but let's not do that until the playoffs are over," said Murray. "I think a lot of players paid a big price to be where we are today." ... Murray said he doesn't mind starting on the road in the final. "That's a real advantage for us. We have played so good and so disciplined on the road that I think starting on the road will be a good thing. "


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