Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Head Coach Boucher Says Speed Is Key to Getting Senators Back into Playoffs

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Head Coach Boucher Says Speed Is Key to Getting Senators Back into Playoffs

Article excerpt

Boucher expects Senators to pick up the pace


OTTAWA - With a new general manager and a new head coach, the Ottawa Senators are determined to leave old habits behind as they make a push for the post-season in 2015-16.

The Senators made big changes in the off-season after failing to make the playoffs. New GM Pierre Dorion replaces Bryan Murray, who stepped aside as he continues to fight Stage 4 colon cancer. Murray remains involved as a senior adviser.

Among Dorion's biggest moves was the hiring of head coach Guy Boucher to replace Dave Cameron and the acquisition of Derrick Brassard from the New York Rangers for Mika Zibanejad. Not to be overlooked was the signing of veteran free agent Chris Kelly.

The 45-year-old Boucher was brought in for his intensity and propensity for success on special teams.

Last season Ottawa was 26th on the power play and 29th in penalty killing. They allowed the first goal in 51 games, were outshot in 60 and gave up the second most shots per game (31.8).

For Boucher the message is clear. It's all about pace and quick transition.

"We want to use our speed with a lot of support, we're not going to be much of a spread team," he said. "I like support everywhere on the ice: d-zone, neutral zone and offensive zone. So we want speed, quick transition, a pack mentality defence, five-feet support everywhere.

"We want to be a team that attacks inside the dots in the offensive zone that doesn't play on the perimeter. We want to force ourselves in. That's what we're going to try to be and we will be, but it's just that in the beginning we'll need a bit of time to get it where I want it to be."

The acquisition of Brassard brings additional experience and leadership, and the Senators hope he will be the winger to spark Bobby Ryan's offensive prowess.

Ideally Ryan would like to get back to being a 30-goal scorer, something he hasn't accomplished since his last full season in Anaheim in 2011-12.

In Ottawa, Ryan has had seasons of 23, 18 and 22 goals, but more concerning is the fact that the last two seasons he's scored just one goal through his last 20 games. …

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