Emery in own class

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

Ray Emery made another statement last night, stopping 27 shots off the sticks of high-flying Habs to show that he should be quite the capable back up to Dominik Hasek.

Speaking of Emery, the rookie goalie has also proven his smarts by starting to take French lessons at Ottawa U.

Young, single and embarking on a sexy, high-profile professional career in the nation's capital, he laughed yesterday when asked if he was learning a second language more to help him in a bilingual media market or the bilingual meat market.

"A little of both," he said.

With his only two starts this season coming against the same team, Emery admitted he also has ulterior motives.

"I only play the Canadiens," he chuckled. "I have to be able to chirp them."

Last night, his actions did all the talking that was necessary.

STARTS AND STOPS: Jason Spezza says that "Z for Zamboni" is his "go-to book" in the Spelling with Spezza program that sees the star centre visit schools and read to the kids. He could also now write his own book on how to end a hockey game in spellbinding fashion. In the category of spectacular goals ever witnessed at the Corel Centre, his OT game-winner last night has to be Top 2, and we can't think of the other one off hand ... Michael Ryder's first-period goal was a perfect example of how even home ice can have its disadvantages, as the Habs winger received a gift of a rebound off the end glass that he bunted by Emery on the first bounce ... One of the hardest hits of the night came from a skilled player. Alex Kovalev jarred Peter Schaefer with a shoulder in the second period, and when the whistle sounded the two circled, not paying obvious attention to each other, before coming together for a head butt ... Unsure which classified as the loudest cheer of the night not going to a Senator -- the uproar whenever the Habs scored or the out-of-town news on the board that showed the Leafs had lost to the Bruins ... He didn't get an assist on the play, but Anton Volchenkov's dash down the right-wing boards was a big reason why Antoine Vermette was able to score the game-tying goal early in the third.

BETWEEN PERIODS: Solid throughout their lineup, the Senators now also have the most talented equipment staff in the NHL, too. The department has been bolstered by a familiar looking big guy helping out Scott Allegrino and his assistant, Chris Cook -- 67's sniper Bryan Bickell, who is in the process of racking up more than 200 hours with the team as part of his co-op program at Hillcrest High School. Unique situation that, given the fact the 19-year-old winger is a second-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks. "I'm doing laundry, filling water bottles, picking up after the guys ... it's been kinda cool, coming to the rink every day and hanging out with the Senators," said Bickell. "It's kinda weird, too. I could be playing against these guys someday soon." At least they'll never be able to say to him, "Yeah, well you couldn't carry my jockstrap."

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...: Ever ask yourself why Dany Heatley doesn't get himself a new tooth to fill that hole where one used to sit in the front of his mouth? Since you asked, the first replacement for the chicklett he lost to a high stick as a 20-year-old was uncomfortable and, by Heatley's own admission, "didn't look very good." He visited the dentist this week to get a new one, which means there goes the gapped-tooth grin ... It might not be all the way back, but officiating is well on its way to becoming like it used to be. Guys are getting away with a lot of stuff they were being called for three weeks ago ... Just wondering, when Ed Olczyk gets fired, does Mario Lemieux bring Pierre McGuire back to Pittsburgh? And don't tell me beating the Thrashers and the Shooter Tutor they have in front of their goal will spare Eddie O.

BUTT ENDS: Chris Neil finished a strong physical shift -- during which he bumped with Radek Bonk for the second time on this night, what's with that? By having a couple of close in chances as the siren went to end the middle period. Neil played one of his best games in a Senators jersey, a performance that saw him fire five shots at the Habs goal and dive to block shots in his own end ... Brian McGrattan nailed Sheldon Souray with a big hit behind the Montreal net in the second period, a moment in time no doubt savoured by the beautiful Angelica Bridges -- also known as the outgoing and currently angry Mrs. Souray ... Angelica must have had a little chuckle watching the highlights of Spezza undressing her soon-to-be-ex in overtime, as well ... Ponder this -- which Montreal-Ottawa meeting will draw more fans, the Hab-Sens (18,840) last night or tomorrow's Als-Renegades clash at Frank Clair? If the football game is anywhere near as entertaining as the hockey game was, it should be regarded as a must-see.

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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