Punishment fits Havlat's crime

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

Hal Gill wound up with only a raspberry on the gooseberries.

The Boston Bruins defenceman didn't quite get away without a scratch when Senators forward Martin Havlat aimed his right skate at Gill's private parts Saturday night.

"He got me. It's not bad. I got like a raspberry out of it," Gill told Boston reporters yesterday.

"But did you see the video? It was pretty blatant. There's worse things you can do, but that's not a good thing ... and I've heard he's done it before."

Havlat was suspended five games yesterday for his boot in the direction of Gill's booty and because he refuses to toe the line, Havlat got what he deserved yesterday.

(Hey, since he's not going to be doing anything now for a few days, maybe he could help out the Renegades' kicking situation in their crucial game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Friday night? He seems to have pretty good aim between the uprights.)

That's the second time Havlat's foot has gotten him kicked out of the lineup.

Now a serial kicker, Havlat is going to have to kick the habit or the next time he's going to be cooling his heels for 10 games or more.

Kicking in hockey is just one of those things you don't do, along with hair-pulling, scratching and biting.

Havlat's apologists have basically asked: "What else was he supposed to do?" when Gill had him draped over the back of the Bruins' net.

I dunno. Fall down? Jump back up and take a poke at Gill?

Take his lumps and try to get him back with a hit another time?

It's not like Havlat is a shrinking violet. He's 6-foot-1 (though he'd still have to kick up, way up, to get to the crotch of the 6-foot-7 Gill).

There was almost nobody defending what Havlat did in the second period Saturday night, not even Havlat himself.

Senators coach Bryan Murray couldn't condone a kick either and he wasn't happy with the way Don Cherry kicked around the topic on his post-game Coach's Corner.

"The commentary afterward pointed it out to the league. It wouldn't have been a focal point," said Murray, who added after a moment's consideration and with a nice touch of humour: "Maybe that's not fair. I think there's always pressure on people who make decisions based on the opinions that are expressed.

"Look at me, I play the guys you want me to play on the lines all the time."

Havlat, who used his head -- soccer style -- to make a pass in the pre-season, is maybe taking this soccer thing too far.

They used to say the area behind the net was "Gretzky's Office."

Maybe Havlat is going to hang out his own shingle: "Dr. Havlat's Vasectomy and Family Planning Centre."

HEAR AND THERE: Both LW Vaclav Varada (knee) and C Mike Fisher (shoulder) practised yesterday. LW Peter Schaefer (bruised hand) did not, but all of them are expected to be ready for Friday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, meaning no call up will be necessary to replace Havlat ... Murray said he expects to use Dominik Hasek on Friday night and probably Ray Emery against the Florida Panthers and ex-Senators coach Jacques Martin Saturday night ... Tough W Chris Neil has three goals on the power play, but he isn't just a pretty face in front of the net. He's done a good job of retrieving pucks along the boards, too ... Murray wasn't happy Neil wound up with an instigator penalty when he came to Havlat's defence Saturday night. Gill took the first swing, said Murray ... C Chris Kelly is also making a favourable impression. "On that fourth line right now, he's is a very useful player," said Murray. "He kills penalties, he wins faceoffs, he's a left centre that we don't have a lot of and he's a very, very smart player. He doesn't fight, but in the long run, I think he'll add to this hockey team." ... The Senators leave today for Florida.


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