Murray looking for rebound seasons from key players

It’s no secret that many Ottawa Senators had a terrible 2010-2011 NHL campaign, and general manager Bryan Murray is hoping a new season, a new bench boss and the return of captain Daniel Alfredsson will spur bounce-back seasons from the likes of Peter Regin, Sergei Gonchar and others.


It’s no secret that many Ottawa Senators had a terrible 2010-2011 campaign, and general manager Bryan Murray is hoping a new season, a new bench boss and the return of captain Daniel Alfredsson will spur bounce-back seasons from the likes of Peter Regin, Sergei Gonchar and others.

Murray spoke to reporters as his players underwent fitness testing on the first morning of training camp Friday. Murray touched on a lot of topics, including:

— There are a couple of players with some “tweaks” right now, so the team will be careful about preventing injury early on.

— Daniel Alfredsson doesn’t appear to be one of them. Murray said he believes the captain feels a lot better then he has in a long time, though he suggested the team had to do some convincing to get Alfredsson under the knife this summer.

— Murray said Alfredsson’s greatest value to the team might be in the locker room, where he brings “credibility” to the organization and serves as a mentor to young players. What Murray didn’t say was that many of the Senators’ young studs are Swedish and probably already looked up to him.

— Murray said he’d been targeting Craig Anderson since the netminder played for the Florida Panthers, but decided to skip the free agent uncertainty and trade for Pascal Leclaire instead (Anderson wound up in Colorado). Murray called Anderson “a real stable guy” who gives confidence to the players in front of him.

— The GM said he didn’t know where the team was overall, but he was looking forward to seeing how a good crew of veterans and plenty of youthful energy mix.

— Murray was asked specifically about the second line centre position and said there were a good five players or so who he expected to compete for it. He also said the team has as many as four young defencemen who might deserve an NHL shot right away, though he warned there will need to be some “turnover” for them all to get it.

— The team is interested to see where Peter Regin is now after a terribly disappointing year. Regin got hurt, but he also languished under coach Cory Clouston. Murray said Paul MacLean and his staff bring a “newness” and an ability to communicate, which sometimes results in “the performance of a lifetime” from some players in training camp.

— On Gonchar, Murray said the veteran defenceman was disappointed in his own game last season and that the negativity around the team was “contagious.” A fresh start should do Gonchar a world of good, Murray suggested.

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