Brandon Sutter thinks Travis Green will be successful with the senators

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No one has to convince Brandon Sutter that the Ottawa Senators selected the right man for the job.

The former Vancouver Canucks forward, who officially announced his retirement from the National Hockey League last fall after attempting a comeback with the Edmonton Oilers, is confident head coach Travis Green will help right the ship in Ottawa.

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Hours before being introduced as the club’s bench boss at a news conference at the Canadian Tire Centre, Sutter, 35, got on the phone from his home in Alberta and talked about why Green, 53, deserves a second opportunity. with the senators.

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“He has a good sense of the game. He understands a player’s perspective on what it’s like to be in the NHL,” Sutter told Postmedia in a phone interview Wednesday. “Any time you have a coach who played a long time and understands what it is to be a player and not just a coach, that always helps a lot.

“I always found that there was always a good feeling in the room with him. He had the right guys around him and it seemed like when he got there with the young guys, they were given the right balance between having the freedom to do things, but also being expected to play a certain way.

“Good coaches find a way to find that balance with all players, not just the very skilled ones, even the fourth-line guys and the seventh- or eighth-string defensemen.”

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There has been a lot of talk about accountability. Core players like captain Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle, Josh Norris, Drake Batherson, Thomas Chabot, Shane Pinto and Jake Sanderson need him to take the next step.

“He’s tough on guys, too, and that’s what I always liked about him,” Sutter said. “He makes you feel responsible and there is nothing wrong. I really loved playing for him and it was perfect for guys like me who aren’t the most skilled but know how to work and what the coach wants them to do.

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“If you’re that type of player, you’ll fit right in with him.”

Sutter played in 770 games in his NHL career, including 275 with Vancouver over six seasons, and always felt Green had a great ability to define players’ roles and where they fit.

“You have to look around the room and know that everyone is going to be responsible for the same things,” Sutter said. “Sometimes when you’re a young player in the league, you don’t understand how that works yet and as you play you realize that no one gets special treatment, everyone is responsible for playing the same way.

“When he first came to Vancouver, I met with him and he said, ‘This is the type of player I think you are,’ and this is what he expected me to be. After that, we never had any problems again, I knew the expectations.”

Sutter said that since the Senators have missed the playoffs for seven straight years, they should want to have someone like Green behind the bench.

“They’ve had a lot of good young players in Ottawa over the last five or six years that they’ve put together, but they haven’t been able to show that they can win,” Sutter said. “They’re close, and they have been for a couple of years, but now it’s going to be, ‘This is your role and this is what we need from you and if you can do it, we’re going to be successful.’ and if it’s not like that, we’re not going to be successful.’”

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The clock is ticking on this group and the players have to do their part to help Green get the job done.

“He fits right in with them,” Sutter said. “When you’re a young player you don’t understand the (200-foot) game, you think you’re just going to score goals and everything will be great. That doesn’t win you games. Fortunately, they have some good veterans, but these guys we refer to as young are not so young anymore.

“Guys like Norris, Batherson and Tkachuk have been in the league for four or five years. They’ve all been paid a lot of money and you get to a point where you have to ask yourself, ‘Are we a team that’s going to be able to win or are we going to miss the playoffs every year?’

“That’s the difference between having the right coach and having the right mentality. This is your role, this is what you have to do and if you do it you’ll get five or six extra wins a year and you’ll be in a playoff spot. It’s not really rocket science. “Those young men are at a point where they want to push their team to the limit and I think they will have a great chance with Travis.”

Sutter believes one of Green’s best attributes is his ability to stay poised through thick and thin. His door is always open and you may not always like what you hear, but he treats everyone fairly.

“There was always a good vibe with him and he is a good conversationalist. He understood when things were going right and he knew how to manage them when they were going wrong,” Sutter said.

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