Bochenski saying Bingo?

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

TORONTO -- Senators 8, Maple Leafs 0

The clock is ticking on Senators winger Brandon Bochenski.

With winger Martin Havlat poised to serve out his five-game suspension tonight, the Senators are going to have to make a roster move to accommodate him.

The rookie Bochenski is an obvious target.

He has been playing with Jason Spezza and Dany Heatley on the Senators' top line, but had just one goal heading into last night's game against the Maple Leafs.

That would appear to put him on the bubble if somebody has to be sent down to Binghamton of the AHL.

"I guess you could say that," said Senators GM John Muckler. "He hasn't scored goals. But he has done some good things for us. He's come a long way from last year. But there is a decision to be made. We are only going to keep 20 or 21 players."

The Senators have been carrying an extra defenceman. Christoph Schubert got his first start last night at the expense of Brian Pothier, who was a healthy scratch.

Senators coach Bryan Murray said he would wait and see how things went last night against the Leafs and tonight at home against the Philadelphia Flyers before deciding what course of action to take.

"We'll see what happens. It seems like every time it's looked like we would have to make a move before, something has happened," said Murray.

Bochenski is in a tough spot, being asked as a rookie to play on a top line on a top team. The Senators might still want to give him more time to adapt and develop.

It's also possible Bochenski could lose his spot with Spezza and Heatley and remain with the club. He could play lower in the lineup and get some time on the power play.

The other candidate for demotion would be centre Chris Kelly.

Centre Mike Fisher has been playing on the wing and could move back in the middle if Kelly was designated for the minors.

HEAR AND THERE: They should tighten up security at the ACC. Surely there was a sniper in the crowd last night. How else to explain Leafs forward Darcy Tucker going down the way he did in the second period, after a glancing collision with Ottawa's Anton Volchenkov? The glove flying off was a nice touch ... Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson took some stitches in his chin yesterday morning after a puck hit the crossbar at the morning skate and made a bee-line for his face. "It's the Battle of Ontario," said teammate Jason Spezza, "and Alfie's already setting the tone."... Senators winger Peter Schaefer is following closely the career of younger brother Nolan, two years younger. Nolan is 2-0 now in the San Jose Sharks' net.

THE BUZZ: Leafs tough guy Wade Belak is the latest player to get his features re-arranged by Boston's Colton Orr. Belak was wearing a full shield yesterday after getting his nose broken and his eyes blackened Thursday night. Orr broke an orbital bone belonging to Pittsburgh's Andre Roy a few days ago ... Alfredsson said he's been surprised at how fast rookie goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has adapted to the NHL. Alfredsson played with the New York Rangers rookie during the lockout in Sweden. Lundqvist leads the league in goals against average (1.55) and is second in save percentage (.942) going into last night's game in Montreal. "He's going to be the guy for Team Sweden for a lot of years," said Alfredsson.

REVELATIONS: Brian Duff, the face of Leafs TV and a former partner of ours on the Senators pre-game shows on the Team 1200, is a big Houston Astros fan. How big? At that last minute, he caught a flight to Houston for Tuesday night's World Series game in Texas. He bought a ticket for $300 from a scalper. "Nolan Ryan threw out the first pitch and that was the highlight of the night, as it turned out," he said.

SPECULATIONS: I like the increasing number of players going topless for the pre-game warmup. Helmetless last night for the Senators were Brian McGrattan, Wade Redden, Bryan Smolinski, Spezza and Schaefer. Lidless for the Leafs were Tie Domi, Bryan McCabe, Jeff O'Neill, Nathan Perrott and Tucker. It gives the fans a chance to see the faces of the players and the players are what this league is selling.

JUST WONDERING: How big is Leafs Nation? The Buds drew a peak of 1.1 million for the broadcast of their shootout win against Boston Monday night. The key is it was a regional game and it drew national-type numbers ... Ottawa's Chris Neil got his fifth of the season on a bank shot off Belak's skate. When you shoot, good things happen.

LEMME SAY THIS ABOUT THAT: I like the Leafs' game-day staff's choice of music. They spun some Matt Mays, a Dartmouth rocker worth a listen, during the pre-game ... Then again, I coulda done without the organ-disco version of Runaway ... Neil is getting the job done at both ends of the ice. Late in the first, he came hard all the way back to the Ottawa goal line and scooped up a loose puck after D Andrej Meszaros finished a check.

CHRIS.STEVENSON@OTT.SUNPUB.COM


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