EDMONTON — In wake of Matt Cooke’s cheap shot on Marc Savard, the consensus is headshots have got to go.
With the focus of this week’s GMs’ meetings in Florida on how to get headshots out of the game, the Senators are interested in the outcome.
Most agreed after Pittsburgh’s Cooke blindside hit left Boston’s Savard with a concussion Sunday that some sort of rule has to be put in place to try to protect players without taking away the physical nature of hockey.
“I don’t think there’s a place for that (in the game). I don’t think (Cooke) was trying to hurt Savard, but I think we’ve definitely got to take those out of the game,” Ottawa centre Mike Fisher said Monday.
“Obviously, you can get hurt. I’m sure the league will look at them. It’s such a fast game, it’s hard to eliminate those types of things, but it seems like we’re seeing it more often. It’s unfortunate. I didn’t think (Cooke’s) was a clean hit. He obviously wasn’t trying to hurt (Savard), but you’ve got to let up in those situations. It doesn’t matter what type of game you play, you can’t hit guys like that.”
Centre Jason Spezza, who is on the competition committee, says there has to be changes.
“Nobody likes seeing players get hurt and you don’t want to see headshots in the game,” said Spezza. “It’s going to get addressed this summer and obviously scary when you see a guy laying on the ice.
“The biggest challenge, for whoever is involved in making the rule, is what the rule is and what will be a fair rule without taking contact out of the game. The physical nature of the game is one of the best aspects we have.”
Coach calls it
Senators coach Cory Clouston told the players to be prepared for a tough challenge on a road trip that could ultimately decide whether they earn home ice in the playoffs.
“That type of character performance we had (in 2-1 loss) Saturday is what we need,” said Clouston. “We had a real gritty type of performance. Hopefully, we can bring that type of thing on the road. I talked to the guys and they understand we can’t take (the Oilers) lightly.”
Clouston grew up in Alberta, but he’s not treating this trip any differently.
“I’ve got friends and family there, but it doesn’t really make any difference,” said Clouston. “We’re going (there) to win a hockey game. If I want the players to have that focus, I’ve got to have my focus.”
The Senators signed D Brian Lee to a two-year extension that will pay him $825,000 (all terms US) in 2010-11 and $925,000 in 2011-12. “I guess it takes some of the pressure off. I only have to worry about playing hockey. I don’t have to worry about outside circumstances,” said Lee, who has spent most of the season in the AHL.
The Senators had a full complement of players back at practice before their flight to Edmonton Monday afternoon. Captain Daniel Alfredsson was back after his bout with flu, as was C Peter Regin. With 12 players battling the illness before, during and after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Maple Leafs, everybody is just happy to have their energy back. “All I saw was a lot of my bedroom,” said Alfredsson. “I’m feeling better. I’ve got the energy back and I’m eating again.”
LW Nick Foligno (broken leg) skated briefly with his teammates at the start of practice, but didn’t make the trip to Edmonton. That doesn’t mean he isn’t close to a return. “He could join us at some point on the trip,” said coach Cory Clouston. D Filip Kuba wasn’t at practice and didn’t make the trip.