May 29, 2007
'Fowl' play worries MurraySens coach wants equal treatment
By BRUCE GARRIOCH
ANAHEIM - Bryan Murray was seeing red yesterday.
The Senators coach doesn’t want to instruct his players to do anything stupid, but Murray indicated if the Anaheim Ducks are going to be able get away with hooking, holding and obstruction, he’s going to tell Ottawa players to do the same.
With Game 2 set for Wednesday night and the Senators trailing 1-0 in the Stanley Cup final, Murray has decided what is good for the goose is good for the gander, so the Ducks can expect Ottawa players to change their game.
Asked by the Sun during his press conference about the Senators response to the Ducks physical challenge in a 3-2 loss in Game 1 of the final Monday, Murray went into diatribe about the officiating.
“They got their physical play from good dump-ins and us not holding anybody up,” said Murray. “Their first man in, got the hits. That was the main part. The other part is when people are standing around in front of the net trying to defend and they’re hammering away at our defencemen, as well as our goaltender. Those are two areas that concern me.
“And, I guess, we’ll have to adjust our style and get back to holding up their forechecker better with our man, because it’s obvious that it’s not being called. We have to encourage our guys to do it. Those are areas that help or hurt aggressive play. When they got in time-after-time and got a chance to run a defenceman on a clean shot, it’s difficult for the defenceman to make a play.”
Does that mean Murray thinks the officials have to do a better job?
“No, I think the rules have to be made clear to me. That’s all,” said Murray, who does plan to discuss the matter with the series supervisor before Game 2 tonight. But, Murray said he spoke with former Detroit coach Scotty Bowman Monday about the way the Ducks play before the puck was dropped. According to Murray, Bowman told him that the Senators had to be ready for the Ducks being allowed to get away with the illegal tactics.
“I just talked to some of the Detroit people and they just told me this is the way it went (in the last series),” said Murray. “I guess it should have been clear in my mind this is what’s going to happen and we’ll be allowed to do likewise.”
The Senators are concerned about the way the Ducks play and that’s why they’re trying to come up with a response because Ottawa is built around skill and speed. If guys like Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer are allowed to hold the likes of Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson up, then it will be tough.
“We’ve got to quit trying to be cute,” said defenceman Joe Corvo. “We’ve basically got to do what they did to us. They dumped the puck in and chased and we were trying to make cute plays at the blueline. We were doing that at the wrong time.
“We got frustrated and that’s something we’ve got to change. We knew that they were just going to dump it in and try to bang us and scare us. They did exactly that. It’s a credit to them, they got all over us in that aspect. But, I’m not going to say much about things that they do like crosschecks, holds and stuff like that. I guess it’s part of the game.. I guess what we can learn from it is that maybe we can do some of the same thing and get away with it.”
But, the Senators have to be careful because they’re skating on thin ice. The response by the officials to Murray’s accusations can be that Ottawa had seven power play opportunities in the game - including a 5-on-3 in the second period - and the Ducks had four. Of course, this should have hockey fans worried because if a team that is built on obstruction wins the Cup, then teams down the road will follow.
“It sure looked like (the obstruction is coming back),” said Ottawa blueliner Chris Phillips. “If they’re going to let that go a little bit, instead of putting your hands up in the air and waiting for the call, we just have to do what we can get away with.”