Fine Sunday for Ruutu

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

NASHVILLE -- This time, Jarkko Ruutu only got his knuckles wrapped by NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell.

The Senators winger is aware it could have been worse.

Ruutu, who has already been suspended twice this season, dodged a bullet after receiving only a fine yesterday for grabbing Minnesota winger Cal Clutterbuck as Ruutu sat on the Ottawa bench in the third period of the Senators' 5-3 victory Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center.

Though Ruutu was given a roughing penalty by the officials at 8:47 of the third, Campbell and Senators GM Bryan Murray were expected to have a conversation with the Ottawa pest following practice yesterday to remind him to watch himself.

"It's just a stupid play by me. It's just a reaction and I guess I held him for an extra second. There's no excuse for that, especially at that time of the game," said Ruutu, who could have been fined up to $2,500 US by Campbell.

"We were up 4-3 and they get a chance to score. I know those hurt. I'm frustrated with myself. I took that penalty. All I can do is just learn from it and I've just got to make sure that it doesn't happen again. Because it just can't happen."

Ruutu has been suspended for a total four games as a result of two separate incidents this season. The first came in November when he received two games for elbowing Montreal's Maxim Lapierre to the head. He got his second was last month after biting the thumb of Buffalo's Andrew Peters.

"I know I have to be careful and a lot more careful than I was before," said Ruutu, who had never been suspended in his career before this season. "I dug myself a hole (by getting suspended twice). That's the way it is for me. I can't sit here and blame anyone else for what happened."

Off the glass

Expect to see G Alex Auld make the start tonight against the Predators. Coach Cory Clouston said the plan was to use Auld in one of the final two games on this trip. Auld made 17 stops in relief of Brian Elliott against the Wild to earn the win. "(The plan) is not going to change," said Clouston. "The change was putting Alex in (Saturday). We'll wait and see what happens (tonight), but it was planned that he would play one of these last two games." Elliott said he has to put the fact he was pulled after allowing three goals on 12 shots in the first behind him. "You have to learn from it and then you have to move on to the next day," said Elliott. "We got the win and you have to be happy with that. The guys responded, so you just have to shrug it off. (The Wild) came at us pretty hard in the first and we were kind of caught running around. It was almost like we were two different teams. We kind of caught ourselves in the second and we were able to settle things down." ... C Mike Fisher shrugged and smiled when asked what he was going to do last night in the Music City. "I was expecting that question," said Fisher, who wouldn't expand on his answer. Fisher has been at the centre of speculation in the entertainment world after being romantically linked to American Idol winner Carrie Underwood, who makes her home in the Nashville area. Not only did Underwood attend a Senators game last month in Toronto, she was also reportedly at a New Year's Eve party at the home of Senator Jason Spezza. So check out the national anthem singer tonight, 'cause you never know.

BRUCE.GARRIOCH@SUNMEDIA.CA


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