You had to feel a little sorry for Bryan's brother Terry Murray and his Los Angeles Kings coming into Tuesday night's game.
The Kings are in the midst of a stretch where they play 8 of 9 games on the road and are fighting hard for a playoff spot.
Ottawa was supposed to be their soft touch in between games at Montreal, Washington and New Jersey.
Then Terry's brother went and fired Craig Hartsburg the day before which virtually guaranteed the Senators would come out super-charged against the Kings. No opposing coach likes to face a team fresh off a coaching change.
And just like predicted, the Senators came out strong and won the majority of battles in both ends of the ice. But the Kings played a patient road game and just waited for their one chance to make a difference and they got it late in the third period when Michael Handzus slipped a wraparound through Brian Elliott, who otherwise had a stellar game in the nets.
That's a tough loss for Cory Clouston and the Senators but there are some positives that they can take from the game.
For starters, I don't remember the last time Ottawa had so many scoring chances. Their forechecking (which was somewhat non-existent under Hartsburg's conservative system) directly caused two egregious giveaways by the Kings defence and Dany Heatley hit a post on one of them.
The Senators had a modest 29 shots but a good many of them were quality chances.
Overall, the boys looked energized and more dangerous as a whole while not sacrificing any of their defensive play. If anything, they looked even more focused in their own end, perhaps because they were spending less time there than in the past.
As for Clouston's first game behind the Senators bench, TV reporter Ian Mendes told the Sportsnet audience that the new coach was significantly louder than Hartsburg and was seen walking the length of the bench to give Chris Kelly a pat on the back for a good play. Mendes used the term "positive reinforcement" when describing Clouston's style and that seems like the proper starting point for this team's rebuild.
Clouston has already stated that getting the players to believe in themselves again is one of his primary goals here and tonight was a good start in that direction.
As goal scorers often say, as long as they're getting scoring chances, they know the goals will come eventually.
Bryan Murray and the legions of frustrated fans certainly hope that mantra rings true here in Bytown.
A must-read article by James Duthie reveals how the Senators players really felt about Craig Hartsburg:
"The problem many Senators had with Hartsburg was his stubbornness. He implemented a system in training camp, and refused to budge from it. Nary a tweak. The players say when things went bad, Hartsburg always believed it was because of “a lack of effort”. There was never any other explanation.
Specifically, the one-man forecheck drove many players nuts. They believe they are at their best as an aggressive team, with 2 men always going hard into the opposition’s end, the way they did during the Cup run two springs ago. Having that second man hang back left them “standing around an awful lot.” Yet they never strayed from it.
The other main beef with Hartsburg was his negativity. Oh, he had plenty to be negative about with this team, that’s for sure. But there were moments where the Senators were desperate for positive reinforcement, and never got it.
They point to a stretch before the All-Star break where they went 3-0-1, and showed signs of making a run. Yet several players say even after the wins, Hartsburg would come into the room and pick out only the mistakes, further eroding their already shaky confidence."
That is the type of thing that you wish the local beat writers from the Sun and the Citizen would pick up on but they are too busy mailing in their easy-as-pie "coach killer" articles and lambasting the team for not playing hard enough.
It's sad that it takes a TV host to get the real story from the players instead of the writers who spend everyday with the team.