November 6, 2012
Charity game draws big crowd in Cornwall
By DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency
CORNWALL, ONT. - By all accounts, the first charity game played by Ottawa area, locked out NHLers was a booming success.
With any luck, it will also be the last.
Attendance at the Cornwall Civic Complex was announced at 4,800, which would mean a healthy $96,000 was raised for First Assist and the Max Keeping Foundation. No one could complain about not getting their 20 bucks worth of entertainment, either. Despite only nine players on each side, the pace was decent in a 13-9 final.
The group is tentatively scheduled to play in Thunder Bay next Monday and head out on a three-game tour of the Northwest Territories on Nov. 18.
That is, if they are still locked out from their employers.
Daniel Alfredsson, for one, refused to get too excited about the fact representatives of the NHLPA and the NHL are finally talking again.
“I just feel that where we are at this stage, there’s still a feeling out process,” the Senators captain said Monday night.
Zack Smith, meanwhile, said there “definitely is” optimism from players that the end to the dispute is near.
Asked if he thinks the NHL will be back in business by December, the Senators centre nodded.
“Yeah, I think so,” he said. “I mean, I think a lot of the players feel we can reach a deal. It’s definitely getting the crunch time, where something has to be done in the next little while to be able to salvage the season. I think players, owners and fans are still optimistic.”
Former NHL tough guy Rick Tocchet tweeted earlier in the day that he has a “hunch” the lockout will be over within 14 days.
Mine is that it will take half that long to settle the dispute, which would probably squash plans for Thunder Bay, but make everybody else happy.
AROUND THE BOARDS: The leading scorer of the night was new Senators winger Guillaume Latendresse, who had two goals and five assists. People have wondered about Latendresse’s off-season conditioning, as it was reported to be a problem in the past. He sure looked good in a charity game, for what that’s worth ... Ah, the Cornwall Civic Complex just ain’t what it used to be. At least not on this night. “Oh my God, the place was a jungle,” said Marc Methot, when asked about his visits here as a junior from Ottawa. “I remember having things thrown at me, when I was skating around on the ice playing for Kanata. Anything from batteries to beer cans ... it was awesome. I loved it. Even playing in the playoffs here. It was a good experience. I miss it.” ... Speaking about memories of Cornwall (not the next-to-be-released President’s Choice sauce, right Ian Mendes?), Alfredsson also has one. “Last time I was in Cornwall was seven years ago when I bought my dog,” Alfredsson said of ‘Bono,’ the family member rarely (if ever) mentioned in our stories. “I like Cornwall a lot, because we’ve got a great dog.” Just thought I’d Cher that little tidbit ... Brian Gionta, Stephen Gionta, Josh Gorges and Travis Moen were stuck in a stand-still traffic jam for 80 minutes, while trying to get to the rink from Montreal. When they arrived, they ran from the parking lot to their dressing room. Their travel troubles pushed the start time back about a half hour.
STOPS AND STARTS: Naturally, Chris Neil tried to get into a fight — with one of the peewees, in a seven-minute scrimmage during the first intermission. About 12 of them jumped him just before the buzzer ended the game within the game ... Alfredsson likely won’t be part of the contingent headed to Thunder Bay for next Monday’s charity game, if the trip does indeed go off. His participation in the journey to Northwest Territories would also be up in the air. “Might go away with the family for a week, so I’ll probably miss next week,” he said. “Then we’ll see what happens after that, if I’m back before they go up north. If I’m home and the timing is good I’ll play.” ... Obviously not to blame were the goalies — starters Jody O’Neil (former Smiths Falls Bear) and Mark Cavallin (who played in England) and the relievers, Jordan Piccolino and James Edwardson of the Cornwall Colts — for the all the scoring. As you would expect, this one had all the defence and tight checking of an all-star game. As he himself noted beforehand, Marc Methot was one of only four defencemen taking part. “I don’t know if I’m going to have to play 60 minutes,” he said. “I might keel over halfway through the first.” Instead, he scored his first goal as a Senator, just before the first ended. Pretty sure Methot didn’t keep the puck ... None of the players bothered to take out insurance for the game. “I think it’s more risky playing 1-on-1 with Chris Neil in practice than playing a game,” said Alfredsson.
C'EST WHAT?: “Until we get something substantial to work on, I’m not too optimistic. I’m hoping this is going to happen now, but I’m not putting any hopes into it.” - Alfredsson, sounding a little like a Swedish Yogi Berra, when asked if he’s optimistic recent CBA talks will lead to a breakthrough in negotiations.
1) Shean Donovan had a hat trick before the second period was over. Everyone's "Chum" has to be first star.
2) Derick Brassard had five points with two minutes left in the second. He couldn’t even confirm he was coming until the morning of the game, so he didn’t have the same “prep” time.
3) Guillaume Latendresse had one goal and five assists through two periods. Did the Senators realize this guy’s playmaking skills when they signed him?