Left red-faced at juniors

DON BRENNAN

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

BUFFALO -- Even in a moment of glory, there can be enough embarrassment to leave a guy's face as red as his sweater or, as red as the one he has just lost.

Chris Phillips and Wade Redden were teammates on the national junior team the last time Canada faced Sweden in the world finals. Phillips' jersey from that 4-1 victory 12 years ago in Boston would have smelled a lot fresher when the game was over, however.

"I can tell you that I didn't get a shift," the Big Rig said, chuckling sheepishly, moments after Canada secured a spot against the Swedes in today's battle for global supremacy at the junior level. "There was a minute or two left and were told (by head coach Marcel Comeau) to leave our helmets and gloves on the bench, instead of throwing them on the ice.

"I gave my stuff to the trainer, and a couple of seconds later (assistant coach Blair Mackasey) called me up (to go on the ice). But I had no gear.

"So I missed my shot for a shift in the final game."

At least Phillips didn't lose his sweater in the dressing room during the post-game celebration, like goalie Jose Theodore.

STARTS AND STOPS: If the Senators go all the way this season, maybe they'll consider doing a Stanley Cup Shuffle like the Super Bowl Shuffle performed by Jim McMahon, Walter Payton, William "Refrigerator" Perry and the rest of the Bears in 1986. Like an overwhelming number of video game lovers, the Senators are honing their musical skills by playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band. "My girlfriend is better than me ... I'm not feeling the game right now," Jason Spezza confided. Of his teammates, Spezza says Ray Emery rocks at Guitar Hero while Antoine Vermette is the star of Rock Band. "I'm getting better," said Vermette, who specializes on drums. "The game itself is sick. It's awesome. I'm going to get one for the (dressing) room, for the boys. See who's got the skill to join the band, have a challenge." Vermette predicts Mike Fisher will be first in line on vocals. "Fishy wants to play so bad," said Vermette. "He's a singer." ... Daniel Alfredsson, seconds after the OT goal yesterday that put Sweden into the junior final: "It's great for our program, no question. They haven't put together a real good team lately and a lot was expected of them this year." ... Cody Bass has extra interest in Canada's fortunes in the Czech Republic. He and national team winger Stefan Legein live together in the summer.

BETWEEN PERIODS: It's been a long time since Anton "A-Train" Volchenkov ran over a victim. Buffalo's Daniel Paille is wishing he waited a little longer. Twelve minutes into his first game after missing 15 with a broken finger, Volchenkov demolished the Sabres winger just inside the Ottawa blue line. Paille's rubber legs took him to the Sabres bench, then the dressing room. He did not return ... If the Scotiabank Place video board operator wants to get a rise out of the crowd tonight, all he has to do is show a replay of Thursday's Jarkko Ruutu-Darcy Tucker fight ... As much as he'd prefer to just stay put on the blue line, Christoph Schubert now just shrugs and accepts his assignments as a left winger. "He keeps telling me how valuable I am," the self-deprecating Schubert said of coach John Paddock, who also coached him for three years with the Baby Sens before both wound up in Ottawa. "I still maybe don't want to believe it, but I guess it's a good thing. I don't think he would lie to me, after six years." ... Speculation around Buffalo is there's no chance the Sabres will reach a deal with D Brian Campbell and that the ex-67's star will be an unrestricted free agent in July. Says Campbell: "I'd like to stay here, it's my first choice, but it's not the end all and be all. We're not close." ... Joe Corvo was the second Senator to fall victim to a bug this week when he missed last night's game with the flu. There's no truth to the rumour either he or Randy Robitaille caught it from Ray Emery.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...: Seconds after Spezza found Alfredsson with a beauty, blind backhand pass, the captain returned the favour, sort of. Alfredsson hit Spezza with a pass, in the middle of his back ... According to Campbell, the snow at the Ice Bowl was even more of a problem than it looked. "You could take a full slap shot and it wouldn't even get to the other end of the ice." We assume (and hope) he meant a shot along the ice ... Senators W Shean Donovan will play Mr. Mom the next four days while his wife is in Los Angeles. "I'll just be dropping them off at daycare and picking them up," Donovan said of the plan he has for his boys, aged two and three. What about dinners? "No problem," he said. "Pizza pockets and juice boxes, with the odd trip to McDonald's." It's all about keeping the game simple, eh?

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SENS VS. SABRES

- Volchenkov, Senators

- Spezza, Senators

- Redden, Senators

Sun Rating: 3 out of 5


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