Heatley in Spezza's corner

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

If Dany Heatley gets to wear the Maple Leaf in February, he'd love to have Jason Spezza share that Italian fashion experience.

Heatley had his centreman back in his spot last night as Spezza returned after missing one game with a sore hip.

Heatley is regarded as a lock to make Team Canada for the February Olympics in Turin.

Spezza is a strong candidate.

Heatley wasn't conceding anything yesterday about his own selection. He did say people who buy into the theory that Spezza should make the team because of the chemistry they share are selling Spezza short.

"I haven't made the team, but as far as the chemistry thing goes, my experience with Team Canada is they are all good players and they can all jell pretty quickly.

"I'd love to be there and I've played pretty well with Jason and (Daniel Alfredsson). I think Jason and I could carry it over and do well in a tournament like that."

Heatley said he thinks Spezza's creativity would make him a valuable addition to Team Canada's power play.

"He can pass the puck. He can play with good players. You look at the international game, any game, and the power play is big. He's good on the power play because he can move the puck.

"I look at the way he's played this year, for the last two years. Look at the way he played in Binghamton last year. He dominated that league. He went there during the lockout and dominated. He's doing the same thing here this year. He's been the leading scorer (in the NHL) on any given day."

Hear and There:

Stars G Marty Turco was good when he had to be last night and boosted his chances for selection to Team Canada. Coming into Ottawa and shutting out the league's top-scoring team will do that. "All I can do is cross my fingers," he said of his Olympic goal. "I'll sleep better tonight."... Mike Modano might be 35 years old, but he skates like a 25-year-old. One of the beautiful things about this game is seeing a guy like that wind it up inside his blue line and rip through the neutral zone ... Some nice penalty killing by the Senators in the first period saw them move the puck with a "four-corners" defence ... Not even Modano's skating could get him out of the way from a big hit from Senators D Zdeno Chara along the boards in the Dallas zone ... The Senators came uncharacteristically unglued last night. Bryan Smolinski picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the third for yapping with the game 1-0. A clearly frustrated Heatley took a needless roughing penalty when it was 2-0 ... The Senators have now handed opponents 35 power plays in their last four games. The penalty killers have done a good job, but it robs the Senators of momentum and their greatest strength: 5-on-5 play.

The Buzz:

This one comes from usual Cheapseats purveyor Don Brennan: Senators D Chris Phillips found himself alone in the net during that game in Calgary when G Dominik Hasek got caught wandering. The Flames scored, you will recall. "Not much has changed since you were in novice," Phillips' dad, Garth, told him. "You're still a bad goalie."

Revelations:

Sergei Zubov is one of the best-skating defencemen in the NHL. Just ask Senators C Mike Fisher. Zubov turned on a ruble and left Fisher in the dust ... Turco isn't afraid to roam far and wide to handle the puck. A couple of times during Dallas power plays, he was almost out to the Stars blue line to move the puck up ice. "I saw him do that a lot," said former Stars and Senators G Ron Tugnutt, who was up in the Corel Centre press box last night. "That's why I think he handles the puck better than Martin Brodeur." Must be something about guys named Marty ... "Do you vote for (Turco) for the Vezina or for the Norris?" wondered former Senator (and Star), now Team 1200 analyst Shaun Van Allen.

Speculations:

The Senators did it just the way they draw it up on the board. With just over a second left in the first period and the faceoff in the Stars end, Spezza won the draw to Heatley, but he ripped a shot just wide ... If I was a junior hockey player, I wouldn't mind playing for George Burnett. The coach of the Belleville Bulls brought his team to the Senators game last night (they play the 67's tonight). Coming into town a day early turns out to be a good move given the snow conditions expected today. During a stay in Plymouth, Burnett told his players they were going into Detroit to catch a movie. They wound up going to see the Red Wings play the Ducks at The Joe.

Just Wondering:

Is there a team in the league that has more active sticks than the Stars? They tip more passes and block more shots than any team the Senators have seen this year. The Stars blocked 21 shots last night. Zubov led the way with five ... How is it that Stars forward Bill Guerin doesn't have a power-play goal this year?

Let Me Say This About That:

You know fans have really embraced NHL hockey after the lockout when they have an autograph session for the anthem singer. Lyndon Slewidge had his Sharpie at the ready last night. Yeesh ... Dallas' Jere Lehtinen must have the quietest 17 goals in the league this year.

Napkin Notes:

There aren't many players who do the little things better than Alfredsson. He used his body to knock down a hard rim-around in the Dallas zone, protected the puck when it fell to the ice and then kicked it to Smolinski. Smooth.

SOME THINGS WORTH NOTING...

LOW MARKS FOR A-TRAIN: Overheard when Senators D Anton Volchenkov might have embellished a tumble in the second period: "Not even the Russian judges will give that one a good mark."

PHILLIPS DELAYED: Senators D Chris Phillips must be the unofficial league-leader in delay of game penalties for shooting the puck out of the rink. He caught a bad break last night when his clearing shot on a Dallas power play cleared the glass over the benches.

CASH UP FOR GRABS: The big crowds at the Senators games this year --last night's was 19,598, the 11th sellout of the year -- mean a nice payoff in the 50-50 draw. Last night's was a sweet $10,481.


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