|Senators' success may improve Murray's dining prospects|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 20 May 2007 13:22|
OTTAWA (AP) -Now that he's finally coaching in the Stanley Cup finals, perhaps Bryan Murray will have enough pull to avoid waiting in line for a dinner table in Ottawa.
During the Senators' five-game Eastern Conference finals win over Buffalo, Murray told the story of how he was unable to get into a restaurant in the hockey-mad city's popular Byward Market area.
``There were lineups at all the different restaurants and bars late at night and I didn't get in,'' Murray said. ``But it looked like there were a lot of people with Senator sweaters on and people coming from the game, so I'm sure it has a big impact on the economy in the area.''
The impact of the Senators' playoff run - their 10th in a row and most successful - is undeniable. Thousands of fans greeted the team's return from Buffalo at the city's international airport Saturday following the Senators' series-clinching 3-2 overtime win over the Sabres.
Daniel Alfredsson's overtime winner ended a nine-year run of playoff frustration and disappointment in Ottawa, which advanced to the Cup finals for the first time since the expansion Senators returned NHL hockey to the Canadian capital in 1992 following a 58-year absence.
``For him to get the goal is real justice to the way he worked and played,'' Murray said of the team's longtime captain. ``He's been the example, the workhorse for the team.''
And all that work earned a well-deserved day off Sunday for the Senators, who wait for the Anaheim Ducks and Detroit Red Wings to settle the Western Conference finals. The Ducks beat the Red Wings 2-1 in overtime on Sunday and can advance on Tuesday with a home win in Game 6.
Though there are 11 Stanley Cup banners hanging from the rafters at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, none belong to the current Senators franchise.
The original Ottawa Senators won four championships within 10 years of the NHL's formation in 1917 and had already claimed seven titles before that. Ottawa's last Stanley Cup title dates to 1927.
``Those people had an amazing accomplishment back then, they were the best, they deserved the Stanley Cup,'' current Senators president Roy Mlakar said.
The original team moved seven years later, after falling on hard times financially, and the franchise disbanded after playing the 1934-35 season as the St. Louis Eagles.
``This is the modern day and it would be the first modern-day Stanley Cup of this 15-year-old modern expansion franchise,'' Mlakar said.
While most current members have never competed for the Stanley Cup, Murray will be taking part in his third final series, though he has yet to have his name engraved on the famous trophy.
Murray was Florida's general manager in 1996 when the upstart Panthers were swept by Colorado. He held the same position in 2003 with Anaheim in the Ducks' only finals appearance, so far.
``I've tried to keep telling the players that in your whole career you might get one, two chances, no matter how good a team you are or how good an individual player you are,'' Murray said.
Murray began his coaching career with Washington, and had stops behind the bench with the Red Wings, Panthers and the then ``Mighty'' Ducks. Following Saturday's win he said that making the finals ``means I can coach.''
``I guess until you get there you get second-guessed or criticized, whatever it may be,'' Murray said. ``I feel kind of good about that.'' The guys were terrific about it. I always knew, given a chance, we could do it.
``But you have to get there to prove it.''
Only two Senators have been part of a finals series. Backup goalie Martin Gerber, with Anaheim in 2003 and Carolina last season, and right wing Oleg Saprykin, who played for Calgary in 2004 and was a healthy scratch Saturday.
Along with Alfredsson, defenseman Wade Redden has been a part of each of the Senators' 10 straight playoff appearances.
``It's the first time for just about everyone in here,'' Redden said. ``Everyone's really excited to get on with it. We definitely worked hard to get where we're at. We'll take a few days and get ready for the next one.''
Senators GM John Muckler, however, has plenty of championship success to his credit. That is evidenced by an enviable piece of jewelry displayed on his left hand, a gold ring with five diamonds surrounded by 16 smaller ones.
The five diamonds represent each of his titles with the powerhouse Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s, including the team's last one in 1990 with Muckler as head coach.
``That's what we all stick around for, is to get another chance to win the Stanley Cup,'' Muckler said.
The smaller diamonds are for the number of playoff victories it took to win the Cup, explained Muckler, who pointed out a carrot engraved on the ring.
``The guys on that team had a carrot hung up and they would put a notch in it whenever they did something good,'' he said. ``This team has its own rituals, too. Now it's hopefully time to get the sixth one.''
AP Sports Writer John Wawrow in Buffalo, N.Y., contributed to this report