After another Ottawa Senators loss, this time a 4-0 blanking by Anthony Stolarz and the Anaheim Ducks, news trickled out Friday evening, the club will place goalie Matt Murray on waivers Saturday at 2pm ET.
While the potential move sounds like a drastic measure for the team that’s now lost four straight and is 1-8-1 in its past ten, something has to be done to help Murray find his game.
After Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks, Ottawa Senators head coach D.J. Smith hung a bull’s eye directly on his netminder Matt Murray, stating the difference in the game was “their (Sharks) goaltending.”
The Senators arguably played well enough to win and outplayed the Sharks through the two periods. However, when the team needed a key save when the game was tied on two occasions, Murray wasn’t up to the task.
His record this season says it all, winless in five games, the 27-year old has posted a 3.26 goals-against average, .890 save percentage.
With two seasons remaining a contract containing a $6.25 million cap hit which includes $15M of actual salary, there likely won’t be any teams vying for his services. The bottom line is the Senators need Murray to find his game. He isn’t going anywhere. And if Murray is traded, the club will have to add a sweetener to any deal – something they’re not inclined to do.
Waiving Murray may not be the lone move general manager Pierre Dorion makes in the near future. With no game scheduled after Saturday afternoon’s tilt on Los Angeles until Wednesday at home versus the Vancouver Canucks, it wouldn’t surprise if Dorion has another move up his sleeve. The Canucks are on the hot seat and are one club seeking change. Outspoken forward J.T. Miller and Brock Boeser are rumoured to be in play.
Murray’s woes aside, the Senators are making too many defensive miscues, and there’s plenty of blame to be shared.
Gritty forward Austin Watson who’s dropped the gloves the past two games made several poignant comments postgame Friday.
“The goals that we’re giving up and the chances that we do are catastrophic at this point. There are guys wide open in front of the net and those are mistakes that you can’t make. It’s really difficult to find consistency when you’re playing in the NHL. You have to be willing and committed to how hard it actually is. It’s easy to go out there and skate around for however minutes you’re going to play – 12, 15, 20 – whatever it is and just move on to the next one. That’s easy, but you don’t win that way. You don’t stick around in this league that way. We have to find a way not just as a team, but as individuals. Every single guy has to bring their “A” game every game, but at least be committed to work,” said a concerned Watson.
“We watch every team in the league. We watch so much tape, systems stuff. We’ll look at those things – talk about the things that we like and clean up the things or leave it to us players to clean up those things. You can take positives and negatives from any game, but if the individuals in the group don’t learn from them or commit to learning from them, then we’re just going to get the same result.”
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