Battle? What battle?

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:53 AM ET

Senators 7 Maple Leafs 0

The first wave of reporters converging on Ed Belfour's stall in the Maple Leafs dressing room were left empty as the beaten goalie put on his blinders, pushed through a curtain to the shower room then exited the other side without saying a word.

And you thought Daniel Alfredsson and Mike Fisher made elusive moves while scoring on breakaways. Ha.

Belfour returned to face the music moments later, but his cliches were as tired as he looked following a 7-0 beating by the Senators at The Bank.

"We just have to keep working hard and stick together," Eddie explained, sounding nowhere near as angry as Dominik Hasek had a couple of weeks earlier following the Senators' 2-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

Maybe that's the problem here, come to think of it.

The Leafs, who have now been outscored 31-9 in games against Ottawa this season, don't look like they give a crap anymore.

They're letting the Battle of Ontario die, and we're not happy about it.

Nope, not at all.

The Senators are fine with the way things are going in games versus their arch rivals, of course.

Walking by a couple of Ottawa scribes waiting for Pat Quinn outside the Leafs dressing room, Senators GM John Muckler, looking straight ahead, quietly muttered: "That's pretty nice, eh?"

For him and his team, yes.

For those of us who used to love a good old Ottawa-Toronto dogfight, it's becoming a bit boring.

Starts and Stops:

How humiliated were the Leafs last night? Before the midway mark of the game, Ottawa's first power-play unit (on one penalty) consisted of Brian McGrattan, Chris Kelly and Vaclav Varada ... The Senators had 33 shots on goal with five minutes still left in the second period. Yawn ... An unofficial count of Hockey Night in Canada bench shots had Quinn up on Bryan Murray, 18-2. Almost as lopsided as the game.

Things That Make You Go Hmmm:

Maybe the Senators wouldn't have had a problem with Ray Emery's dye job had the backup goalie passed over the platinum blond juice and abided by the new slogan at Scotiabank Place: "Go Red." .... From the Australian Open, we nominate Iveta Benesova for a TTMYGHmmm ... Combined with Tampa Bay's win last night, the Leafs fell to ninth place and on the outside looking in at the Eastern Conference playoff picture. "We just have to be better," defenceman Ken Klee said after the shellacking. "We managed to be bad in every area of the game." ... Added captain Mats Sundin: "Just getting the puck out of our end is a victory, and that's no way to play in this league."

Between Periods:

The press row Bermanism of the night -- Jason Allison "Wonderland." ... Murray had a unique way of describing one of his rookies yesterday morning. "He's got a great shot and not great speed, but real decent speed," the Senators coach said of Patrick Eaves, a 10-goal (in 23 games) scorer he picked for the shootout Thursday night because the kid likes to go top shelf and Anaheim goalie J.S. Giguere is a noted butterflier. "But what sets him apart is he's a very intelligent player. He's got the computer going real good." ... No truth to the rumour Murray called upstairs in the third period looking to send out a line of me, Stevenson and Garrioch with the instructions that we had to pass three times before taking a shot on goal.

Punch Lines:

The Toronto Star's Ken Campbell reports it only rained twice during the 11 days he spent in Vancouver covering the world junior hockey championship. "Once for six days," says Campbell, "and once for five." ... Murray will participate in an upcoming cooking-with-the-coach promotion sponsored by the L.C.B.O., just as Jacques Martin did. "I'm a great barbecuer, but that's usually with a bottle of beer in my hand," Murray said yesterday morning. "They tell me they have a real fine chef that's going to work with me. I'll just be there for the humour, I think." .... We always look forward to a relaxed conversation with Tie Domi, who yesterday morning entertained reporters by remembering his early days as an NHL fighter. "For three years, (former heavyweight champ) Bob Probert would tell me, 'Beat it kid, beat it,' " said Domi. You requested a fight with Probert for three years? "Begged," corrected Domi. "McGrattan should be happy. I gave him one his first game." ... Turns out Domi didn't actually invest in the Renegades, despite what the previous ownership was telling us. "And thank God I didn't," Domi said with a smile yesterday. "I kiss my lawyer every day." ... Psst. Zdeno. That was Sundin who cross-checked you twice from behind when you were trying to park on Belfour's doorstep during that 5-on-3 in the first. Y'know, just in case you didn't get the number and were looking to return the favour tomorrow.

DON.BRENNAN@OTT.SUNPUB.COM


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