Bryan Murray And Importance Of Ottawa Senators’ Playoff Push


Of course you have heard by now, but Bryan Murray and the Ottawa Senators are going to the playoffs. Not only that, they enter the post season as the first wild card, and will play the Montreal Canadians, truly a dream match-up for all Senators’ fans. They ended the season with a record of 23-4-4, and finished with 99 points which is the most for the team since 2007. Not only that, check this out:

Safe to say we won’t be seeing a regular season run like that in a long time. Making the playoffs is always great. It means you’re still alive, and you have a chance to win the Stanley Cup. But this year, there is a special importance to Ottawa’s playoff berth, and here’s why.


Earlier this season, word got around the league that Bryan Murray has had colon cancer for most likely around 10 years now, but just found out about it recently. Because of that, there is essentially nothing he can do, and the doctors have given him a realistic timeline for his life. The news hit the team and others around the league extremely hard, as he’s been one of the most respected men in the NHL for the past 30+ years.

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Nobody is sure what Murray’s role is going to be with the team next year, if there is one at all. Murray does still have a passion for the game, and my gut says he will come back for one more season as the general manager. But still, he knows that there aren’t many more teams he can cheer for in his lifetime, and the fact that Ottawa made this historic run this season makes the story that much better.

You can bet that all the guys in the dressing room are trying to win it for Murray, and that’s some great motivation. Of all people, I’m most happy for Murray during this run because he knows that he has built a solid core of young players that looks to be stronger down the road. Keep fighting, Bryan.


In terms of markets, Ottawa certainly isn’t a large one in the NHL. They aren’t like the Toronto Maple Leafs who will always have money no matter how bad they are doing. They need fan support and good attendance numbers. Now, I don’t live in Ottawa so I can’t exactly say what the feeling is like amongst fans there, but I’d be willing to bet that there is lots of talk surrounding them right now. Even around the NHL, they are the talk of the league.

Seeing the crowds for the last few homes games and the fans that met the players at the airport makes me believe that these fans are extremely passionate. This run has given them something to cheer for again, after a year and a half of watching a poor team. There’s nothing more inspiring than seeing an amped up crowd that loves their team.

In the east, Ottawa is sometimes the butt of the joke amongst Montreal and Toronto fans. Now that the Senators are actually winning, it feels nice to be able to actually fire back once in a while. Winning trumps everything, and right now it’s hard to bash Ottawa because they’ve played like the best team in the league for two months.


The best discovery from this run is that Ottawa is easily able to succeed without many of their veteran leaders that were deemed so important earlier on. Guys like Chris Phillips, Chris Neil and Colin Greening haven’t played hardly at all in the last several months, and it’s no coincidence that the team is winning. Furthermore, and most importantly though is that the young players have stepped up and played like NHL caliber players.

It’s clear that the nucleus of this team revolves around young players, and that was a very important discovery

Mark Stone is a legitimate first line force, Mike Hoffman is a top six sniper, Kyle Turris is a bona fide number one centre, and Mika Zibanejad looks much more comfortable as a second line centre.

But wait, there’s more. Patrick Wiercioch is finally proving that the numbers guys were right, and that he is a quality player. The trio of Erik Condra, Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Curtis Lazar has been one of the best third lines in the league as they are all responsible defensively.

It’s clear that the nucleus of this team revolves around young players, and that was a very important discovery. Besides Legwand, every starter on the team is 30 years old or younger, with most of them being in the 21-25 range. I think the team can act on this, and hopefully rid themselves of some older players with bad contracts.

Apr 11, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone (61) scores his second goal of the game during the third period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. Ottawa won the game 3-1 and clinched a playoff spot. Mandatory Credit: John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports


When your favourite team is awful, it really isn’t enjoyable following the team or watching the games. The first 50 games of the season were not fun, and most of us were hoping for a top-5 pick. But now, all Senators fans are hyped up for the playoffs, and the mentality is that anything can happen. To win a Stanley Cup, you need great goaltending and some luck, which is what Ottawa has been getting.

Sure, they are still a long-shot to win it all, but in the back of your mind, you can’t help but think “what if?” If you are on Twitter, the experience as a Senators fan has been amazing recently. We have some of the funniest bloggers around, and each game there’s an endless amount of quality tweets, gifs, and photoshops. When your team is winning, the interactions with fellow fans is so much fun, and for me personally it brings me daily joy seeing what others are tweeting about.

If you aren’t on twitter yet, I strongly recommend it, especially for playoff time. There will surely be some big battles between Ottawa and Montreal fans.

I would bet money that there will never be a run like this in our lifetime in the NHL, and certainly for the Senators. We witnessed history folks, and it may not be the end of the road just yet. This playoff push was so important for the team, the fans, and the future of the team going forward. Can’t wait to watch the first series.

Go Sens Go!

Next: What Has Changed Since 2013 Between Ottawa And Montreal?