March 10, 2009
May had nobody to fight with
By DON BRENNAN, SUN MEDIA
For a Battle, there sure isn't much hand-to-hand combat between the Senators and Maple Leafs now that Brian McGrattan and Tie Domi are gone, and Chris Neil is on injury rehab.
A poor fellow like Brad May, for instance, really has nobody to fight.
The veteran hard-nosed winger tried to get at Jesse Winchester in the second period when the rookie Senator slammed Nikolai Kulemin into the boards, but even if he had succeed, Winchester is not exactly in May's snack bracket.
Winchester has only had two NHL fights, and they could barely qualified. May, a 6-foot-1, 213-pounder, has had 142 regular-season scraps in his 17-year NHL career, according to hockeyfights.com. Earlier this year. he dropped the mitts was with big Georges Laraque, the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder widely considered the league's most fearsome brawler.
Exactly what were you thinking, Brad May?
"Good luck is what I was thinking," May said. "And I was thinking, if I can just get one shot in ... that one didn't come."
Maybe not, but May did survive his Close Encounter of the Georges kind, as he did when he decided to go with Derek Boogaard, the Minnesota Wild's 6-foot-7, 258-lb. gorilla.
Which one is the NHL's true, heavyweight champ?
"Neither," said May.
"Donald Brashear would beat them both."
The best fight I ever saw is May's slugfest with 67's Jeff Ricciardi at the old Niagara Falls rink. That was in the 1980s, but May remembers it like it was yesterday.
"I didn't know who he was," said May. "There wasn't YouTube or anything like that back then. He wasn't a very big guy, but he sure was tough."
I recall sitting beside Leafs scout George Armstrong in a press box directly above where the players started pounding each other. The Chief was so excited he spilled his coffee.
May was a busy man his first year in the OHL.
"I had 54 majors," he recalled. "And 12 more in the post-season."
One was in the Peterborough bench, after May acted on the orders of his coach, Bill Laforge, by physically interrupting Petes coach Dick Todd as he was whining to the refs.
Domi, then the Petes' tough guy, came to Todd's rescue.
There would be no fights in the latest Battle of Ontario, but let's hope that's not some sort of sick trend. For when it comes to fisticuffs in the NHL, I'm fully on board with Leafs GM Brian Burke.
In a Globe and Mail column by Dave Shoalts yesterday, Burke said: "I will personally challenge anyone who wants to get rid of fighting to a fight."
Starts and stops
Making her debut as a Senators fan at Scotiabank Place was actress/recording artist Hilary Duff. She must have been as confused as anybody else who just started watching hockey in the last 10 years or so when the Leafs called for a measurement of Jason Spezza's stick. So 1990s ... After sending up the smokescreen that "Cujo has always played well in this building," Leafs coach Ron Wilson finally revealed the real reason he went with Curtis Joseph instead of Martin Gerber: Yours truly and the other smart alecs in the Ottawa media. "I just sense this opportunity you guys miss to mock (Gerber), for whatever reason." Why would we do that? "Just everything, up-and-down year ... he doesn't deserve that," said Wilson, who is guessing that Gerber will probably play when the two teams meet in the season finale, April 11 in Toronto ... Gerber was asked if he was disappointed. He answered brilliantly and with tremendous insight, as always. "That thing is past," said Gerber. "There's nothing you can change. What happened, happened. You've got to move on." ... Memo to Mike: Call Carrie. It's her birthday. She's 26.
Things I think I think
Chris Campoli and Jamal Mayers were battling for a puck in the corner during the third when referee Stephane Auger became caught up in the mix, lost his footing and went down in pain. When he was helped up and limped out of the game, he received what might have been the first ovation ever for an official at Scotiabank Place. "The NHL just called," said one high-ranking source. "Auger is gone for the night with a lower-body injury." ... Nobody wore a bigger smile yesterday than Phil Oreskovic, the 22-year-old hulking Leafs defenceman who was about to play his first NHL game. "I'm definitely feeling really excited," he said, explaining he had family and friends coming to the game. Oreskovic lives with his mother and father in the same Brampton abode he grew up in. "Same house, same room, same everything," he said. "I've got a Bobby Orr picture on the wall from when I was young, and some of my Brampton (Battalion) pictures too, so it's really good." .... Doesn't it seem like yesterday that Chris Phillips was a fresh-faced 18-year-old being picked first overall in the NHL draft? Yesterday, the Senators defenceman turned 31.
Entering the game, the Senators' top two scorers against the Leafs this season: Jarkko Ruutu and Shean Donovan. Resuming their dominance of the Buds were Dany Heatley (27 goals in 36 games) and Alfredsson (60 points in 61 games) ... Campoli, a big baseball fan, was sizing up the Italy-Canada World Baseball Classic game. How Italian are you? he was asked. "Depends on what time of year it is," he cracked. "At World Cup time, I'm very Italian." ... While in Binghamton the past couple of weeks, defenceman Brian Lee had his second fight as a pro. It was against Pascal Morency, who had 596 PIMs in 2001-02 with the QMJHL's Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. "That's not true, is it?" Lee asked. Asked how he did against Morency, a 5-foot-10 winger now with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the 6-foot-3 Lee joked: "I didn't get beat up too bad, so it's good. I don't think his arms are long enough to get all the way to my face."