Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Coach Leads Revamped Ottawa against Blues

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Coach Leads Revamped Ottawa against Blues

Article excerpt

National Hockey League teams always knew what to expect from a trip to Canada's capital city.

A victory for the visitors after a dreary effort by the dreary Senators in the dreary Ottawa Civic Centre.

That's suddenly changed.

The Blues know they can't just stroll in and rudely wipe their feet on this NHL doormat when the teams meet at 6:30 (St. Louis time) tonight.

The Senators moved into the spiffy $217 million Palladium on Jan. 17.

Last week, they rattled their roster with a three-team trade and then made ex-Blues mentor Jacques Martin their third coach of the season.

The club responded with three strong games in its new home against three strong teams:

A 4-3 loss to Pittsburgh in which the Senators outshot the leader of the Northeast Division 40-27 and received three standing ovations.

A 4-2 loss to Detroit, the Western Conference leader.

A 2-2 tie with Toronto, which had sent the Senators new goalie Damian Rhodes, 26, in the trade-a-thon.

"They've played hard in the last couple games," Blues coach Mike Keenan said. "That's been a tough, tough place to be. You change two coaches and a general manager in less than 45 games. There are a lot of different dynamics going on there."

The Senators earlier had hired Pierre Gauthier from Anaheim as their general manager, replacing Randy Sexton, who had replaced charter GM Mel Bridgman two years ago.

"Wow," rookie winger Trent McCleary said. "When I envisioned my first years in the National Hockey League, I never figured there'd be three coaches and two general managers. This has been Team Turmoil from the get-go."

Assistant coach Chico Resch, on the day he was fired along with Dave Allison, said, "If there's one good thing, it's we canceled the team picture yesterday. This team could lead the league in team pictures."

Allison, who will receive the $500,000 due him on the last two years of his contract, had been promoted from the minors in November to replace Rick Bowness. …

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