'The right thing to do'

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:38 AM ET

SUNRISE, FLA. -- What might be the best 1-2 punch on an NHL blue line will be on the ice today at the Corel Centre.

The only problem is the Ottawa Senators are playing here against the Florida Panthers.

Senators defenceman Wade Redden and Zdeno Chara will work out at the Corel Centre, Redden rehabbing a knee injury and Chara serving a one-game suspension for instigating a fight in the last five minutes of Friday night's 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

The Senators called up defenceman Tomas Malec from their Binghamton farm club for tonight's game.

Chara wasn't making any apologies for going after Kings defenceman Tim Gleason Friday night in the waning minutes of a chippy game, earning himself the suspension and a $10,000 fine for Senators coach Bryan Murray.

Seeing Kings tough guy Jeff Cowan beat up Senators centre Chris Kelly, who was wearing a nasty shiner around his left eye yesterday, was the last straw for Chara.

Cowan had turned down the opportunity to fight Senators tough guy Brian McGrattan earlier in the game and ignored Chara's invitation that hey, if Cowan was looking for a scrap, Chara would be willing to accommodate him.

"Sometimes you have to look after the best interests of the team and (it's) the right thing to do. If we played the same game tonight and the same thing happened, I would do the same thing exactly. I have no regrets for that," said Chara after practising with the Senators yesterday.

Chara admitted he got caught up in the emotion of the chippy game as it wound down.

"Obviously you are. You have to be emotional in a game like that," he said. "Especially at the end when you see one of our guys getting beat up. It's not fun to watch.

"(Cowan) could easily wait and pick somebody else. You are a little bit frustrated. You don't look at how much time is left in the game. You want to do what's right for the team."

Chara said as far as Gleason being the target, it was nothing personal.

"I'm not a guy who's going to go after the smallest guy," he said. "It's not my style to pick some guy who's not physical. He's a big guy who's done some fighting.

"It's nothing personal. I felt that was the right thing to do."

Murray said he understood Chara's motivation and has endorsed the Senators standing up for each other even if it means the coach takes a hit in the wallet.

"My kids don't get any Christmas presents, but other than that ... I hope that it wouldn't happen again," said Murray. "He's a very important player on our hockey team and we don't want him sitting out with suspensions doing something in the last five minutes of the game. But on this occasion, I really have no choice. I do understand the emotion in this business."

chris.stevenson@ott.sunpub.com


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