NHL won't bench Kelly

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 1:15 PM ET

Chris Kelly has a record with the NHL's top cop, but he won't be subject to any further discipline.

The Senators centre learned yesterday he won't be hit with a fine or suspension for jumping Chad Larose during the Senators' 6-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday night at the Corel Centre.

Kelly will have a record with the NHL office, but the punishment handed out by referees Dave Jackson and Chris Lee was too severe in the first place, so NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell didn't see any need for a followup call to the Senators yesterday.

While Bryan Murray warned Kelly to be careful about getting kicked out of future games, there wasn't a chance the rookie was going to get in any hot water from the Senators coach for defending teammate Patrick Eaves, who took a heavy tumble into the boards after a careless hit by Larose in the first period.

'RIGHT ANSWERS'

"I spoke with Chris Kelly and I don't think he'll be taking those kinds of penalties again anytime soon," said Murray. "But he gave me all the right answers and I believe he did the right thing and what he thought was right at the time. You have to have people stand up for each other.

"He thought the hit on Patrick Eaves was dirty, he thought Patrick may have been hurt and he thought he had to stand up for his teammate. It was tough because we had to play short a forward, but I felt like he did what he thought was right under the circumstances."

Kelly admitted he only caught a glimpse of the hit by Larose on Eaves, but felt he had to come to the defence of his teammate. He received 27 penalty minutes for the incident -- including a game misconduct -- and moved among the team leaders in penalty minutes so far this season.

"Anybody on this team would do that because you have to stand up for your teammate." said Kelly.

"I didn't think I was going to be thrown out of the game."

INJURY LIST GROWS: Senators D Brian Pothier won't play tonight against the New York Islanders after suffering a mild concussion in the club's victory over the Canes. Pothier fell backwards into the boards in the second period and was dazed. "He's going to go through the usual testing," said Murray. Pothier said he was feeling better yesterday and hoped to play tonight, but the Sens will take precautions. "I'm going to see how I feel in the morning. I feel a lot better than I did when it first happened," said Pothier. The Senators will move D Christoph Schubert, who has been playing up front, back to the blue line against the Isles. F Denis Hamel has been recalled from the Senators' AHL affiliate in Binghamton and is expected to play because C Jason Spezza still isn't ready. Spezza skated for about 30 minutes before the players went on the ice at the Bell Sensplex. "He hasn't come to me and said he's ready, so I'm assuming he's not going to play," said Murray. "I would say he won't be ready until Monday (against Atlanta) at the earliest."

AROUND THE BOARDS: Ottawa G Ray Emery, who made 25 saves against the Isles in a 6-2 victory Dec. 23 on Long Island, will be in net tonight. "I would think they're going to want to get revenge against us. We have to be prepared because they're going to come at us pretty hard," said Emery, who will make the start ahead of Dominik Hasek ... Senators C Antoine Vermette said he'll do whatever it takes to stay in the lineup and is enjoying his role killing penalties. "I just want to get the playing time," said Vermette, who scored a goal against the 'Canes and set up another shorthanded effort by Eaves ... The Isles have lost three straight games and GM Mike Milbury isn't happy about it. "We're kind of lost in space right now," said Milbury, who had a long telephone conversation with coach Steve Stirling following the Islanders' 6-2 loss to the Rangers on Wednesday at Nassau Veterans' Memorial Coliseum.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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