Hartsburg back in NHL for third stint as head coach

Updated: June 13, 2008, 5:44 PM ET
Associated Press

OTTAWA -- Craig Hartsburg is the new coach of the Ottawa Senators, who were swept out of the playoffs in the first round this spring -- a year after reaching the Stanley Cup finals.

[+] EnlargeCraig Hartsburg
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean KilpatrickCraig Hartsburg, who coached the Canadian national junior team to its second straight world title, signed a three-year deal with the Senators.

Hartsburg, who previously coached Anaheim and Chicago, took over from Senators general manager Bryan Murray, who finished the season behind the Ottawa bench after coach John Paddock was fired in late February.

Hartsburg, who signed a three-year contract, was an assistant coach for the Philadelphia Flyers from 2002 to 2004. The 48-year-old Hartsburg has been coach of the Ontario Hockey League's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for the past four seasons.

"I know it's a great challenge and I can't wait," Hartsburg said at a Friday news conference. "I love challenges.

"Early in this whole thing, the players will see that there's a plan and we're certainly here as coaches to motivate the players to follow the plan. And then if the plan is not followed, there will certainly be accountability."

Ottawa is coming off a seventh-place finish in the Eastern Conference and a first-round playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"It appeared to me that one guy thrived on the scrutiny, thrived on the pressure and wanted to be in Ottawa," Murray said. "He wanted this job badly and he sent a message to me that, at the end of the day, that's the kind of person we wanted."

Hartsburg has a career NHL coaching record of 184-190-69. In 10 seasons as a player, all with Minnesota, he had 98 goals and 315 assists for 413 points in 570 career games.

Hartsburg recently underwent hip surgery and was still using a crutch Friday to help him get around. He said he'll immediately get to work on selecting his assistants and meeting with Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.

"To me, it's not about being fixed," Hartsburg said. "It's about me coming in with a program and getting the players to buy into it.

"A scorer's not just a scorer, he needs to do more. A checker's more than just a checker, he needs to do more."

He also helped Canada capture gold at the IIHF World Junior Championship as an assistant to Brent Sutter in 2006. He was then handed the head coaching reigns and led the squad to back-to-back gold medals in 2007 and 2008.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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