ANAHEIM -- Things have gone in one big circle for Senators assistant coach Greg Carvel.
The 36-year-old is back here now in Southern California getting a chance to win a Stanley Cup against the Anaheim Ducks, the organization with which he broke into the league.
Small world, huh?
Carvel was hired by former Senators GM Pierre Gauthier to be the Ducks' scouting director in 1999.
When The Ghost was canned and Bryan Murray moved from coach to become the Ducks' GM, he brought Carvel in off the road and put him in the newly created position of video coach, breaking down game situations and preparing clips for the players.
That's the position Carvel held when he went to the Stanley Cup final with the Ducks in 2003.
When Murray left the Ducks in 2004 to return to Ottawa to coach the Senators, Murray offered Carvel the chance to come along.
Carvel, a native of Canton, N.Y., and a St. Lawrence University grad (political science and mathematics) has done a great job with the Senators' penalty killing, helping make it one of the league's best units.
"It's two years in the making. When I put a game- plan together the players trust me and they trust each other that they all know what the next guy is going to do," said Carvel.
"The guys battle. That was the thing against Buffalo, they couldn't win a puck battle against us. As long as we could get them to dump the puck in ... we showed clips of some of their guys bailing out. That's why we dominated. By Game 5, if we took a penalty, I wasn't even nervous until we got the second one and were down 5-on-3.
"But we'll have our hands full against Anaheim."
Carvel followed Murray to Ottawa because he was impressed with Murray's interactive style. He kept his coaches in the loop compared to some GMs who keep their coaches in the dark.
"When all the changes happened in Anaheim, that's how I found my niche with Bryan. He was such a hands-on GM in such a positive way. He was always around. You'd see him once or twice a day. He'd always tell you what GMs he was talking to, what he was thinking about as far as trades or player movements. He was always open to a two-way conversation. He treated his staff so well," said Carvel.
"When he left to come to Ottawa, the whole organization was just devastated."
Now Carvel gets a chance to play a bigger role in the Stanley Cup final. He has more responsibility and has been an important part of what the Senators have created this spring.
"The year we went to the finals (with Anaheim) we had good chemistry like we do here. I think (goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere) was the story.
"It's so different this time. We've basically been the better team every game we've played except for stretches. You feel a lot more confidence going into this final whereas going in against Jersey (in 2003), it was a matter of, 'Can he hold up?' and I don't think (Giguere) did. His game came down in the final.
"Having it feel like more of a team effort here is a little more rewarding than having the goalie carry everybody on their shoulders."