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Dave Cameron takes over as new Ottawa Senators head coach

12/09/2014 06:46 EST | Updated 02/08/2015 05:59 EST
One Maritimer takes over for another as Ottawa Senators head coach today.

P.E.I. native Dave Cameron will replace Antigonish, N.S.'s Paul MacLean at practice this morning, a promotion from his former role as Senators assistant coach and first time running a skate as an NHL head coach.

Senators general manager Bryan Murray said Monday that he hopes Cameron, 56, will improve team defence and be a better communicator with the players.

"In particular (for) our younger people, he'll be a good teacher — he's a former teacher," Murray said.

"He's got a hockey IQ, he's played in the league. I see a man what will stand up and will allow players to play but one on one, will be able to relate."

Murray said he believes Cameron can help the team make the playoffs this season despite being four points out of the eighth and final spot.

"We need communication, we need players to be empowered," Murray said.

"We need a system and a work ethic that will benefit our players: forecheck more aggressively, get the puck going quicker, get our defence a little more help in our own end, don't turn the puck over quite as often.

"That's all easy to say, to get it on the ice and get it in action will take a little time."

Besides the coaching change Murray said he's talking to other teams to try to make "a move or two" but Cameron has to have the ability to weigh in.

Close to a few junior hockey championships

Cameron played 168 NHL games with the New Jersey Devils organization in the early 1980s before moving into coaching.

He had three head coaching stints in the Ontario Hockey League, one with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds from 1997 to 1999 and two with the Toronto/Mississauga St. Michael's Majors, now the Mississauga Steelheads.

Cameron was an assistant coach for Canada's world junior team the last time they won gold in 2009 - an event held in Ottawa.

He came back as an associate coach the next year and was world junior head coach when Canada took the silver medal in 2011 with a team that included current Senator Jared Cowen.

The same year he came within a period of winning world junior gold, Cameron's Majors lost the OHL championship series (in overtime) and the final game of the Memorial Cup national championship.

Yahoo Sports junior hockey editor Sunaya Sapurji said his junior teams played the hard-working, defensive style Murray said he was looking for.

"I think he's a guy who definitely gets the most out of his players, he was known very much as a straight shooter, he's a very honest man, is very straightforward and believes in hard work," she said.

"He was definitely known as a defence-first coach, even though he had very talented offensive players… you had to be responsible defensively or else you just weren't going to get ice time."

After his Memorial Cup appearance, Cameron was one of five people interviewed for the Senators head coaching position (with the support of Senators and then-Majors owner Eugene Melnyk) but wound up as an assistant coach instead.

The Senators said Cameron will talk to the media after practice on Tuesday morning.

Murray said Cameron may reveal some of the other members of his coaching staff when that happens.

His first game as an NHL head coach will be Thursday night, when the Senators host the Los Angeles Kings.

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