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Senators GM: ‘We thought this team was better’

Mar 30, 2014, 1:34 PM EDT

Bryan Murray AP

Before the season started, many thought the Ottawa Senators were poised to be not only a playoff team, but a Stanley Cup contender. Instead, they’re essentially out of the playoff race with 74 points and left wondering what went wrong.

That’s just the question Senators GM Bryan Murray tried to answer when he spoke to TSN 1200’s Ian Mendes (as shared by TheScore).

“We thought this team was better. We thought we had enough skill here to offset a couple of little things we were missing last year – and it didn’t work out,” Murray said.

Ottawa is a decidedly average to below-average team this season. With a 30-29-14 record they’re eight points behind Detroit and Columbus for the wild card in the East.

Acquiring Bobby Ryan to replace Daniel Alfredsson was seen as a major upgrade, but Ryan suffering a sports hernia in November that he played through slowed him down. Setbacks on defense and Craig Anderson not standing on his head all season helped pile on the disappointment.

The next step for Murray will be to see how things change in the offseason. With rumors swirling around Jason Spezza‘s future, it could be another busy time in Ottawa.

  1. killerpgh - Mar 30, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    Instead of the owner blowing money on the “CSI:Ottawa – Get Cooke” he should have put that money towards the on ice product and it could have helped. As of now only 4 NHL teams have spent less on its roster than Ottawa this year.

  2. lowenni - Mar 30, 2014 at 1:52 PM


  3. rushledger - Mar 30, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    They essentially got run over by the penguins in last playoffs, they we a second round team at best this season, because they’re not better than Boston or Pittsburgh.

  4. bsaures - Mar 30, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    Just like Toronto before there collapse this year goaltending masked some serious flaws the team has. Without Anderson standing on his head that Senators team last year would have likely finished near the bottom of the conference and it shows this year.

    • spezzdispenser - Mar 30, 2014 at 3:49 PM

      Don’t forget that Anderson only played half the season last year. Not saying that wasn’t the reason they were so good last year, but I think there was a few [younger] players playing over their heads last year.

      • bsaures - Mar 30, 2014 at 4:55 PM

        I think also not replacing Gonchar adequately caused a huge hole in the defense. He was playing 24 mins of good hockey last year and none of the other D have stepped up to fill that role. His puck moving abilities have especially been missed

  5. joey4id - Mar 30, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    ‘We thought this team was better’ in other words ‘Paul Maclen, what the hell happened? Why couldn’t you win with this team?’

  6. tomnickle - Mar 30, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    People thought they were a Cup contender?

    Outside of Ottawa?

    • spezzdispenser - Mar 30, 2014 at 4:39 PM

      I’m not making this up, one of the fantasy hockey magazines I picked up in the fall had the picked to win the cup. It wasn’t a super credible magazine, but still, some people thought it.

      • cliffatola - Mar 31, 2014 at 2:53 AM

        Was it a MAD magazine ?

    • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 30, 2014 at 4:56 PM

      Yes surprisingly many thought they’d take another big step forward. I mean this in no way to toot my own horn, but I never bought into that. In my mind both the Sens and Isles were really overrated by a lot folks based off good half seasons last year. Both have legitimate weaknesses that were exposed over a full campaign.

  7. uscthom78 - Mar 30, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    When ur owner makes Jeffrey Loria look like a money spending fiend, you know ur team ain’t going anywhere.

  8. Simon Says Sport - Mar 31, 2014 at 1:59 AM

    I don’t understand how they or anyone could have thought this team was a playoff contender? Regardless of Ryan being injured or even if he was healthy all season they’d still be missing out on the playoffs. They did not do enough in the offseason with additions or have a good bunch of prospects coming through the AHL to be in the top 8 so…

  9. anonymous135 - Mar 31, 2014 at 8:57 AM

    The reason people thought they were going to be a playoff contender was because each of the past two seasons they were expected to be the worst team in the league, yet thrived and overcame incredible odds to not only make the playoffs but take #1 seed NYR to 7 games in round 1 and then last year, beat the Canadians fairly easily before bowing out to the Penguins… and last year they were missing the big guns for major portions of the season (Spezza, Karlsonn, Anderson, etc)…

    A lot of their young players gained invaluable experience…

    So based on that over-achieving with not much there to begin with, I can totally see why everyone would have expected the same trajectory path.

    What do you exect when you let your Franchise player, heart and soul walk away (for nothing) because the owner is too cheap and using only 70% of the salary cap.

    It’s time to clean house

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