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Coach has confidence in young players

Friday, 03.24.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Coach has confidence in young players
Rookie Chris Kelly, left, and sophomore Antoine Vermette, right, are just two of several young Senators players impressing coach Bryan Murray this season. Photo: OSHC

by Todd Anderson

With less than a minute remaining in a game against the Buffalo Sabres on March 18, the score 3-2 in favour of the Senators, coach Bryan Murray had to decide who he would rely on to finish the game against a team just one point back in the standings. He chose NHL rookie Chris Kelly, sophomore Antoine Vermette and captain Daniel Alfredsson.

He chose well.

Ottawa cleared the zone and Kelly outraced two Sabres defenders to score into an empty net for a 4-2 victory.

It's been results like that, which have given the coach confidence in utilizing his younger players in key situations.

"Almost every day we show (video) clips, and the kids are often involved, doing things right," Murray says.

Vermette, 23, and Kelly, 25, have especially excelled in penalty killing.

"The two of them work very well together," Murray says. "They're doing a heck of a job short-handed."

In goal, Ray Emery, 23, who set an NHL record by winning his first nine career games, has flourished while filling in for the injured Dominik Hasek since the Winter Olympics.

"Ray has earned the confidence of his teammates," Murray says. "If there's a mistake, he has come up big for us."

Up front, Patrick Eaves, 21, has shown no hesitation in driving opponents' goals. He's been rewarded with power-play opportunities.

"He gets abused and he keeps going back," Murray says. "It's courageous people who go and do that."

Andrej Meszaros, 20, has been a tremendous addition on defence as a rookie. Murray feels Meszaros's poise and skill have resulted in his position atop the NHL's plus-minus category.

"He's a driven kid with lots of quickness. His hard work has allowed him to be a real good rookie in this league."

Christoph Schubert, 24, has provided hard-hitting performances up front when called upon. He's also been solid on defence, his natural position. Brian McGrattan, 24, has not only established himself as one of the top fighters in the game, he has also worked hard at honing his other skills.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 82 21 45 7 66
M. Stone 80 26 38 21 64
K. Turris 82 24 40 5 64
B. Ryan 78 18 36 5 54
M. Hoffman 79 27 21 16 48
M. Zibanejad 80 20 26 0 46
C. MacArthur 62 16 20 -6 36
M. Michalek 66 13 21 3 34
D. Legwand 80 9 18 1 27
A. Chiasson 76 11 15 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Anderson 14 13 8 .923 2.49
R. Lehner 9 12 3 .905 3.02