It’s a block party for Volchenkov

BRUCE GARRIOCH, Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:21 PM ET

CALGARY — Anton Volchenkov was poised to reach a statistical milestone on Thursday night at the Saddledome.

The Senators’ stay-at-home defenceman went into the game against the Flames needing one blocked shot for 1,000 in his career.

Volchenkov blocked No. 999 against the Oilers in Tuesday’s 4-1 win. The NHL started counting the statistic following the 2005-06 season. Pretty impressive numbers.

“(Volchenkov’s) a pretty special guy. He’s probably the goalie’s best friend,” Senators netminder Pascal Leclaire said before the Calgary game. “I’ve never really played with a guy like that, except Adam Foote was a little bit like that in Columbus. Those guys put their body on the line all the time.

“It shows a lot of character and a lot of courage. He never complains about it. He’s just a low-profile guy who takes his job really seriously. He’s just an awesome guy. It’s great for him. He takes the game seriously.”

Volchenkov isn’t afraid to pay the price.

He leaves the rink with bumps and bruises, but doesn’t complain. His role isn’t the most glamorous in hockey, but just think about how much more rubber goalies would face if he wasn’t there to block shots.

“Sometimes, I get hurt,” said Volchenkov. “Guys like (Zdeno) Chara and (Sheldon) Souray have pretty hard shots. It’s my job.”

Alberta switch-a-roo

Calgary D Steve Staios knew he was going to be on the move on trade deadline day, but he didn’t envision switching sides in the Battle of Alberta. The former Oilers defenceman, dealt to the Flames in exchange for Aaron Johnson and Calgary’s No. 3 pick in the 2010 draft, just didn’t see this one happening. Though he did hear in the days leading up to the deadline that Flames GM Darryl Sutter had shown interest. The deal between the arch-enemies was a first. “It was unique for sure. I don’t think anybody expected it,” said Staios. “When you’re a (GM), you need to look at your best options whether it’s a rival team or not.” Staios isn’t complaining one bit. “I can just speak for myself, but it’s been a great fit. As far as a player being traded and having a family, it’s pretty convenient. They’re just up the road, a couple of hours away, and they can come down when they need to come down,” said Staios. “In one phone call, you go from being with a last-place team to having an opportunity to play in the playoffs. That is exciting. All that matters is winning. To be playing in games that are meaningful again has been a lot of fun.”

Alfie applauds new rule

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, a victim of a headshot from ex-Leaf Mark Bell two years ago, is happy to see the league plans to take action next season by implementing a new minor penalty to players who deliver blindside hits. “Something has to be done. I thought they were going to set an example with the last hit (by Matt Cooke on Marc Savard),” said Alfredsson. “It’s always the player’s responsibility to be aware at all times. But if you allow that kind of hit, then people are going to start looking for it more and more and more. It’s good to see that they’re proactive in making something happen. People will think twice before deliberately hurting someone.”

bruce.garrioch@sunmedia.ca


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