Thornton laughs at B's

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:30 AM ET

The TV cameras had just shut off in the visitors' dressing room.

"Hey Joe," a newspaper man said to San Jose Sharks superstar centre Joe Thornton. "Did you happen to catch the score of the Bruins game tonight?"

"No," replied Thornton, his attention piqued.

"They lost (to the Los Angeles Kings) 6-0," he was told.

At that, Thornton began to laugh. He looked unsure if he should, at first, his eyes darting around to catch the reaction of the other media members around him.

Then, as if to say what the hell, he continued chuckling.

"I'm not there anymore," Thornton said through a big grin and continuous, almost maniacal laughter. "It's not my team. I don't care anymore."

The most lopsided trade the NHL has seen in years -- a Nov. 30 deal that saw Thornton go to the Sharks for Marco Sturm, Brad Stewart, Wayne Primeau -- has reared its ugly head to bite Ottawa.

Thornton played 21:01, had one sweet assist, six shots on goal and a 14-9 record in the faceoff circle while playing a very large role in San Jose's 2-0 win at the Corel Centre.

At the start of the season, the Senators had to think the Big Bad B's would make life tough on them in 2005-06.

If only for this one night, they were right.

Starts and Stops:

In accordance with the new CBA, starting Sunday members of the NHLPA can be randomly tested for drugs, both of the performance-enhancing and recreational variety. Unlike baseball, the penalties are stiff, with first-time offenders potentially facing a 20-game suspension. "It won't be a big problem in our sport," Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson figured yesterday ... Sharks D Josh Gorges (pronounced George-es, so say that full name 10 times fast) was sent off for high-sticking Peter "Scarface" Schaefer, which is only noteworthy because these days everybody seems intent on making No. 27 ugly ... Through two periods, the best Ottawa scoring chance came off the stick of Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, who almost inadvertently slid a shot he wanted to go behind the net in it. And the best San Jose chances were set up by bad passes from Alfredsson (Patrick Marleau breakaway, scores!) and Zdeno Chara (Jonathan Cheechoo breakaway, stoned!) .... Construction workers putting Roger's House together were in attendance, as were what's believed to be a season-high number (16) of scouts -- also known as construction workers who put NHL teams together.

Starts and Stops:

Strictly out of respect, Cheapseats refrains from giving a catchy nickname to Scotiabank Place at least until the Kanata Kastle is no longer the Corel Centre, which to us means the next time the Senators play here. We will, however, rename the currently incomplete Dany Heatley-Jason Spezza-Alfredsson troika (Cash Line is stupid no matter the venue's title) for those who prefer not to use the creatively designed Burn Unit. On the advice of The Team 1200's Steve Lloyd (who first gave us "A-Train" for D Anton Volchenkov) the line shall become Capital Gains once its official home pins a bank's name on its outside walls ... As consolation, allow us to present you Wade "Roses (R)" Redden. The Senators defenceman is involved with the charity 65 Roses, his passes are rose-petal soft and he's regarded as something of a ladies' man. In time, Redden will be known worldwide simply as "Roses" (You can't get this stuff just anywhere, you know).

Things That Make You Go Hmmm:

Prime example of how it is that big, bad Thornton could become the NHL assists leader -- his give-back pass to Nils Ekman on a 2-on-1 break that made the game 2-0 in the third was a thing of beauty ... Obliviously walking over the huge team logo in the middle of the Ottawa dressing room floor yesterday (and therefore subject to fine) was former Senator Jamie Baker, who now works on the Sharks broadcasts. Perhaps he didn't recognize he was on a prohibited path, but that's okay, many in the room didn't recognize Baker ... You had to know words heard on press row when two Sharks defencemen came together to hit Mike Fisher from either side at the same time. "Hmmm. A Fish Sandwich." ... Big (6-foot-3, 240-lb.) San Jose blueliner Doug Murray was born and raised in Bromma, Sweden. Bet he was the only one in the local phone book.

Punch Lines:

King Daniel of Sweden is not only the Senators' MVP, but also remains the team BTTP. (Best Table Tennis Player). The No. 1 contender, now that the ping-pong games have resumed outside the dressing room, is rookie Patrick Eaves. "Right now, yeah, but everybody's starting to come out of the woodwork," Eaves conceded yesterday. The King admits Eaves is a capable player, but good enough to steal his crown? "Maybe," he said, "when I retire." ... Never let it be said Shaun Van Allen can't be bought. Upon receiving a sweet Boston Celtic pullover from former teammate Bryan Smolinski at yesterday's morning skate, Vanner promised payback. "I don't care if they lose 8-2 and he's a minus-6," said the ex-Senator turned-Team 1200 broadcaster. "He's going to be the first star tonight." ... How fast is Marleau? A desperate Alfredsson (who has pretty good jets himself) could come nowhere close to catching him after the giveaway that led to San Jose's first goal.

SOME THINGS WORTH NOTING...

OH NO, BO: Playing his first since missing four weeks with a separated right shoulder, W Brandon Bochenski gave the joint a stern test early in the first. Racing to the bench after serving a penalty, the rookie tripped just before he arrived, crashing hard right into the boards (you guessed it) right shoulder first. Bochenski survived to play the rest of the game.

ANOTHER DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE DOMINATOR: G Dominik Hasek had to double check the start time of last night's game when he was leaving the rink yesterday morning, but he was all there from the opening faceoff to the final buzzer against the Sharks. Not only was Hasek at his acrobatic best stopping the puck, but he also did some nifty wandering out by the boards near the blue line, some embellishing to draw a goaltender interference penalty and some dramatic pleading to throw off his glove and point to the spot he touched the puck inside the trapezoid to avoid a call that looked like was going to go against him.

MILESTONE MARK: Of coaching the 1,100th NHL game of his career, Bryan Murray said: "I've won lots and I've lost lots. Hopefully, there's a few more wins left." We say fewer than expected, if the Senators decide to keep playing like they did last night.


Photos