Weight's on Sens now

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

They needed a Weight. They chose to wait. And now they're too late.

No one knows for sure how close or anxious the Senators were to acquiring Doug Weight from the Blues, but surely they could have put together a more attractive package than the Carolina Hurricanes did yesterday.

The thinking here is not so much that John Muckler's guilty of a snooze-you-lose, however. It's more this: A) the Senators thought they'd be able to nab Weight a little closer to the trade deadline, as when they sent a lukewarm prospect (Brooks Laich) and a second round pick to Washington for Peter Bondra in 2004.

And B) Weight was Plan B. The guy they really want is Florida centre Olli Jokinen, who's bigger, better and tougher.

Alas, Jokinen's also going to be tougher to get -- the Panthers already have young guys like Nathan Horton, Stephen Weiss, Jay Bouwmeester and Mike Van Ryn and are probably less in need of another up and comer than a gritty, talented leader like Jokinen, who's only 27 and their captain.

But as an unrestricted agent, Jokinen will be dealt if Mike Keenan finds him too difficult to re-sign -- and Bryan Murray has discovered a way to pry Jokinen from a team before. It was Murray, remember, who brought Jokinen to the Sunshine State in the first place when he was GM of the 'Thers, stealing him and Roberto Luongo away from the Islanders for Mark Parrish and Oleg Kvasha . Too bad Mike Milbury isn't working in Florida, eh?

Meanwhile, the pressure is now on Muckler big time to answer Carolina's move. Because as fine as the Senators have been this season, they still haven't been as good as the 'Canes, a team that yesterday just became a whole lot better.

Starts and Stops:

So Tim Thomas, was that the easiest shutout of your career? "No definitely not," laughed the Bruins goalie, who had 15 in Finland last year and 10 in the AHL the year before --but put up his first NHL goose-egg last night, then admitted he was aware of Dominik Hasek claims after Thursday's 3-0 beating of the Habs. "I don't think I've been around long enough to make a claim like that." ... Fueling speculation at The Bank last night was the presence of scouts from 10 NHL teams -- including two (Duane Sutter, Tom Watt) from Jokinen's Panthers -- who could not have seen much to like about the Senators ... All the good and pure robot lovers out there are breathless with their complaints of how Ray Emery could have the gall to wear a mask with a painting of Mike Tyson on each side. Get real, robot lovers. Emery is unique, his own man, a nonconformist. And that's not just cool, it's downright refreshing. A big boxing fan who has also worn likenesses of Jack Johnson and Marvin Hagler on his face protection this season, he's clearly honoring the pugilist, not the rapist ... The B's have the injured but promising Hannu Toivonen, a guy who was once considered a rising star in Andrew Raycroft, and a now a 31-year rookie in Thomas who is suddenly one of the hottest goalies in the NHL. So, Mike Sullivan was asked yesterday morning, who's the No. 1 netminder in your organization? "I'm not sure we have one at this point," replied the Boston coach, an answer you wouldn't get from many others across the league in his position. Thomas' stock would rise hours later.

Between Periods:

How brutal of the Senators organization, to allow the nightly pre-taped "thank you for coming and don't drink and drive" message delivered by Emery with five minutes left? Naturally, the rowdies booed when the goalie's face appeared on the big screen. "I don't know who's running that, but you have to use your head a bit," agreed Wade Redden. "You have to have a little feel for the game, and what's going on. That's not to say (the outcome) was his fault or anything, I just didn't like that." ... Wondering, if the Bruins had scored six while beating the Senators, shouldn't all fans at the game have won a free slice from Boston Pizza? .... Irony? Here's some. Chris Phillips, who challenged his teammates to keep Montreal under 10 shots on goal Thursday, was guilty of a giveaway in the first period that quickly wound up in the Ottawa net. The shot, by Patrice Bergeron, was Boston's 10th of the game.

SOME THINGS WORTH NOTING...

A-TRAIN OFF TRACK: D Anton Volchenkov paid for poor play, as his number of shifts in the second period (five) was down from the first (eight). Volchenkov, usually Wade Redden's partner and considered Ottawa's fourth blueliner, was demoted to the 5-6 pairing with Brian Pothier, as rookie Andrej Meszaros moved up to play with Redden.

SIDE BY EACH: Daniel Alfredsson and Bruins W P.J. Axelsson are good friends, but the Sens captain probably wishes he would have seen less of his opposite number than he did last night. In a classic shadowing assignment, Axelsson followed Alfredsson everywhere except back to the Ottawa dressing room.

BY THE NUMBERS: Zdeno Chara was a minus-4 last night .... Even Meszaros, the NHL's plus-minus leader, took a hit. He was minus-1.


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