Sens' Big Mac Attack

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

We interrupt your efforts to come up with a cool handle for the Jason Spezza line to suggest Brian McGrattan deserves a nickname, too.

Just 16 games into his rookie season, he has earned it.

Like the team's high-flying scorers, the Senators enforcer has brought fans out of their seats at a regular rate through the early portion of this season.

Last night was no different.

McGrattan's NHL-leading eighth fight of the season came midway through the first period, and it was another dandy. Carolina's Jesse Boulerice was late getting out for the shift, and when the puck was dropped you started to think his tardiness was intentional. It didn't take McGrattan long to leave his wing to get to Boulerice's and convince the Hurricanes tough guy to throw down the gloves.

"They beat us last time and I just wanted to give us a spark," said McGrattan. "I wanted to give us a little energy. It was a good fight."

McGrattan dominated the early part of the scrap, throwing mostly unanswered rights and knocking the helmet off Boulerice's head. But Boulerice would not go down. Finally, he started to get a few short jabs in himself, then strategically switched hands and started tossing some hard lefts. The manoeuvre turned the battle in his favour, and he earned the decision by knocking McGrattan to the ice.

"He caught me with a couple of lefts ... I'd give the edge to him," said McGrattan. "I admit it when I lose. I'm not one of those guys who says he wins every fight.

"I got knocked down ... it's part of fighting. There's a little respect there both ways."

The two had a conversation in the penalty box, leading to some anticipation from those who noticed. McGrattan confirmed the topic later.

"I asked him if he wanted to go Round 2 and he said yeah, but we never got out there at the same time again," he revealed. "Maybe next week in Carolina, if he's up for it."

With any luck. It's always entertaining to watch Brian McGrattan do his thing. Everybody loves a Big Mac Attack.

Starts and Stops:

First in-game and impromptu standing ovation of the season was awarded to Daniel Alfredsson during a third-period stop in play, after it was announced that the Senators captain had just recorded his 600th career point. The roar grew louder when Alfredsson showed his appreciation with a wave -- the hockey player's version of a curtain call. They have a lot of new, young talent to cheer for this season, but Ottawa fans clearly love their Alfie. "I never expected that," said Alfredsson. "I really appreciated it." ... It's hard to imagine that many softer shots have beaten Dominik Hasek in his career, although the Mike Commodore back breaker in the last minute of the second period went through almost as much traffic as is lined up to get into parking lot 4 a half hour before game time ... Pass of the night was a long bomb from Alfredsson to Spezza that sent the smooth centre in on a clear and long breakaway. Spezza's deke and backhand was turned back by Martin Gerber ... Moments before Alfredsson's strong performance was rewarded with his 16th goal of the season, Zdeno Chara tested Gerber with a slap shot from his own goal line. The 160-foot skipper gave the 'Canes goalie a little trouble and may have put the first small crack in his armour.

Between Periods:

Already surly Vaclav Varada would have been breathing fire after getting just 27 seconds of ice time in the first period. Varada wound up playing just 2:54, including only 37 seconds in the third ... Whatever the official could have possibly been thinking, Martin Havlat should have been awarded a penalty shot when he was hauled down by Erik Cole on a first-period breakaway. He was in alone, had possession and was denied a scoring chance because Cole hooked him from behind ... Commodore says he didn't fret over being traded by the Calgary Flames, who went to the Cup final when he was with them the last hockey season, to the Hurricanes, whom nobody was quite sure of at the start of this season. "There was a better opportunity for me to play (in Carolina) and get into the mix right away," said Commodore, who saw 20:10 of ice time and scored the winning goal last night. "In Calgary this year, I would have had to work hard to get to No. 7 (on the defenceman depth chart)." Martin Gelinas couldn't believe it when Calgary traded Commodore. Last night was an indication as to why.

Butt Ends:

They should get a spell check for the centre-ice scoreboard. Unless the Montreal Canadiens have officially changed their name to the Canadians ... Under the category Harder Than We Thought is Brian Pothier's slap shot and remembering the new capacity attendance figure at the Corel Centre ... Didn't take long for former Renegades media relations director Arash Madani to find work. He'll start as a sports reporter on the A-Channel in December, replacing Ken Reid ... Rumours have the Hurricanes signing Jason York, the Nepean-born former Senator defenceman who started the season playing in Switzerland ... Bryan Murray brought up Carolina's first goal himself when he wasn't asked about it by reporters in his post-game press conference. "I thought it was offside and I thought the puck was knocked down by (Justin Williams') high stick," said the Senators coach. "I asked the ref about it and he said it was waist-high, but I just watched it eight times ... but that's not the story of the game by any means."

SOME THINGS WORTH NOTING:

EARLY RING-A-DING: The Senators generated the first close call of the night when shooter (Daniel Alfredsson) turned passer and flipped a backhand to passer (Jason Spezza) on a breakaway. Spezza's shot beat Martin Gerber only to squarely hit the goalie's left post.

HIT OF THE NIGHT: It might not have been the hardest, but it was both solid and surprising. Hurricanes C Kevyn Adams had just stepped around Dany Heatley and was headed for the Senators' net when he was separated from the puck by a jolting (accidental) check from linesman Derek Nansen. Adams was not amused and later in the same period suffered a bit of a meltdown when his whacking at a loose puck turned into whacking at Zdeno Chara. The big Zee Tree did not fall down.


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