GM Bryan Murray made an appearance on Hockey Central’s radio program this afternoon. Here’s a brief transcript of what was said:
Q: What do you have to do to get into the top 8 this season?”
BM: “Play a lot better than we did last year. We weren’t very good. We had an awful season. Nothing good happened almost from the drop of the puck at the start of the season until the end. So we got a few more young kids into the lineup so hopefully we have more energy and play a lot more responsible and get good goaltending. If we doall of that, we’ll have a chance.”
Q: How was your summer? It doesn’t sound like it was very good. You sound kind of cranky today.
BM: “It was a great summer. It was unbelievable. I didn’t have any issues with players wanting to leave. I didn’t have to spend a lot of money on free agents. It was just a summer that we kind of got ready for training camp and we tried to convince some of our young guys to try and work hard to be ready for the start of this. We ran a development camp for our drafts and it was very good.”
Q: What are some of the expectations for some of the young guys, like a Rundblad?
BM: “Well, they’re young. Obviously coming from Sweden will be a little different. He’s a bit of a risk… taker with the puck but he has great awareness, head and hands. I think it’s a matter of how well he’ll adapt to the way that we play in the NHL but he’s a good sized young man that can skate very well and looks like he can defend in a decent fashion. He can come in and play in our top 6 I believe. It means I we have to do something with one defenceman maybe but he certainly has a chance for that to happen.”
Q: And a Mika Zibanejad?
BM: “Well again, a big guy. He skates real well and competes all over the ice. In the rookie tournament in the first game, I didn’t think he was that great but he was a little better in the second. I think as he gets familiar over here as well, he’ll be a much better player. Whether he’s ready to play or not I think will be determined by preseason games and regular training camp more than the rookie camp. But he’s a great character young man. He’s enthusiastic. He wants to play badly. He’ll do basically what we ask him to do right now so that’s a great thing. He’ll be one of the young guys competing for a job, let’s put it that way.”
Q: Bryan, you’re a guy who’s always loved big center men. I’ve looked at your group and you’ve got some kids in the future that look like they’re going to be good looking center men. In the near time, you’ve got Spezza and after that, who’s going to play center?
BM: “Zack Smith is going to play center in the third spot I would say. I shouldn’t announce that until Zack goes through training camp. But he’s certainly played great in Binghamton down the stretch. He played for us at the latter part of last year. He’s a big kid. Very competitive. A battler. He has some ability with the puck and he knows how to check, so I like him. We got Konopka who we signed as a free guy for four. It looks like Jesse Winchester and him fighting for that spot. We have Peter Regin who’s coming off of shoulder surgery but looks great right now. Stephane Da Costa who has looked real good in the rookie camp. He is a young guy coming out of college but I really think that he has a chance. We have a number of names but it’s a matter of who’s ready to step in and is capable of playing in the number two spot for us. That’s going to be, probably, the biggest question for us in training camp.”
Q: What do you expect of Bobby Butler this season?
BM: “Well again, a fairly hard working kid. A good skater. He’s one of those people Doug who just finds a way to score goals. I mean there are people in our league that you look around and you look at them in the game and they don’t seem to make a lot of contact. They don’t seem to do a lot of things but at the end of the night, they could have a goal and an assist. To me, Bobby Butler is one of those people who has the ability to put the puck in the net. As a result, we have him penciled in as a guy that can play amongst our top six forwards. We’re hoping that be the case. I know when he played with us last year, he got points and then he went down and helped Binghamton win a championship. He scored important goals at important times of the game and we like players like that.”
Q: Why Paul MacLean?
BM: “I believe that the players are the show – the important thing. You have to show that you care for them. That you trust them. That you will communicate with them. Communication to me means listening as much as talking at times. Paul MacLean has those characteristics. He’s a guy who is a real people person. He’s a fun guy to be around. He’s strict. He pushes when he has to but he was a player and knows that to get the best out of people, you have to allow them to be who they are. I like that about him. I think it’s a little bit of a contrast to what we had. I think with Dave Cameron and Mark Reeds coming in to help, I think we’ve got a very, very solid coaching staff with good people and people who have been around good players.”
Heritage Jersey News
As one of the perks to buying season tickets, the Senators organization has mailed out a letter that includes a redeemable gift card. Thanks to Stephen from Sens Town, the content of the letter can be seen above.
Following the link that was provided in that letter, it directs you to the Senators website wherein most of the information found in the letter is rephrased. Interestingly though, it offers fans an opportunity to receive a free vintage scarf and toque provided that they order an additional ‘heritage’ jersey. It may only be a small token gesture but more importantly, an image these two items is actually shown.
While this may not seem like much, fans no longer have to rely on concept art or photocopied leaks of the jersey for an idea of what the colouring scheme will resemble. The off-white looks similar to what the San Francisco Giants use on their home jerseys.
Taking the Swagger Out of Robin Lehner?
From today’s Bruce Garrioch article on Lehner in the Ottawa Sun:
“It’s a hard question,” said Lehner when asked his goal heading into training camp. “It feels like whatever I say to the media, they kind of try to twist it and they kind of try to make me look arrogant.
“I’m going in humble to this camp. I feel like if I’m not going in for a job, why should I even go there? It’s as simple as that. I’m trying to go there and show what I can do. If it goes the right way, that’s good. If it doesn’t, I’m down in Binghamton as a 20-year-old and that’s not bad either.
Elliotte Friedman’s 30 Thoughts Blog Returns…
… And a few Senators related tidbits made it in:
12. Finally, there’s Jason Spezza. For the second consecutive summer, he worked with Andy O’Brien, who is Crosby’s fitness guru. O’Brien worked with Spezza on staying lower while skating. “I had a tendency to straighten up a bit,” he said. The Senator added his back feels better than it has in a couple of years. Ottawa needs him to have a great season.
23. Also hearing that veterans who skated with Mike Zibanejad raved about him. Zibanejad said he knew Ottawa was interested because Bryan Murray invited him to visit right before the draft. He said the Senators also did that with Ryan Strome and Sean Couturier. (Strome was gone before Ottawa picked.) Apparently, (and this is me talking, not Zibanejad) Murray tried to snare a second high pick to grab Jonathan Huberdeau, but couldn’t.
There’s also a Kyle Turris contract blurb (sorry, couldn’t resist mentioning it), a Yashin/Gandler reference and a story involving Paul MacLean and the late Brad McCrimmon. In other words, do yourself a favour and add Friedman’s blog to your RSS feed. It’s the best hockey blog on the Interwebs.