Talk about a mixed message. Senators winger Chris Neil got a little kick in the butt and a pat on the back yesterday.
While the rugged forward was working the fourth line of Chris Kelly and Brian McGrattan during the team's practice at the Corel Centre, Neil also spent time with the club's No. 1 power play unit.
No, Senators fans, you weren't imagining things Wednesday when you saw Neil on the ice with the Senators' power play against the Maple Leafs. He's going to likely get another shot at it from coach Bryan Murray tonight.
"We're going to use guys like Neil and (defenceman Zdeno) Chara there from time to time because we want to get some size up front," said Murray. "I want to have some guys going to the net more."
Neil said he knows why he's on the ice in those situations.
"I have to go in there and try to get my nose dirty. If I don't do it, then (Murray) will find somebody else who will," said Neil. "I have go in there and try to create some traffic in front. He just wants to get some size in there to see what happens."
AROUND AND ABOUT: Senators D Chris Phillips said the officials were tough in the opener, but put away their whistles in OT. "I thought it was right back to where it used to be in the overtime with them not calling anything," said Phillips. "Throughout the game, I thought it was just like the pre-season and they were calling everything." ... The Senators aren't going to take the Sabres lightly. While some prognosticators don't believe Buffalo will even make the playoffs, the Senators don't agree. "They've got a team that is quick. They did a pretty good job against us in the preseason and we've got to be ready for them," said assistant captain Zdeno Chara ... Senators GM John Muckler spoke with the league officials about the "no goal" in the 3-2 victory over the Leafs. Club officials are certain Bryan Smolinski should have been credited with a goal in the first period, but are willing to accept the league's explanation. "There's nothing you can do about it ... The puck was in the net," said Muckler. "But the league told me (the video replay) was inconclusive and the problem is the official on the ice didn't call it a goal, either."