Dom pulls double duty

DON BRENNAN, OTTAWA SUN

, Last Updated: 10:12 AM ET

PITTSBURGH -- It's black and yellow everywhere in Steeltown these days as all the blue collars get ready for the Big Game on Super Sunday.

The Senators were half in the spirit of things yesterday preparing for their showdown with the Penguins. They were just yellow -- as in proceeding with caution.

It didn't matter to Bryan Murray that last night's opponents had won just one of their previous 14 games, and that their one true and consistent scoring threat was stuck in the rack with the flu.

Murray wasn't taking any chances.

"I'm just interested in winning at this time," the Senators coach said yesterday afternoon in explaining his decision to stray from the original plan and start Dominik Hasek for the second time in 24 hours instead of the struggling Ray Emery.

"I'm not interested in accommodating anybody's feelings or getting a guy in to get him in. I know Dom is going to play well."

SURPRISE START

Still, it was a surprise to see the 41-year-old between the pipes for the second of back-to-back games. The Binghamton Senators should be able to give the Penguins a run for their money without Sidney Crosby in the lineup.

Murray also more or less confirmed that Hasek would start again tomorrow night against his old team in Buffalo.

To me, that the Senators wouldn't risk playing Emery last night suggests they've lost all confidence in him and have stepped up their search for another goalie.

Olympic Tidbits:

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson acknowledged the loss suffered by Team Sweden yesterday with the announcement that Vancouver star Markus Naslund wouldn't play in Turin because of a groin injury. "It's too bad," said Alfredsson. "I knew he had a problem with the groin ... it seems like a common thing in the league these days." However, the Swedes -- who will also be missing defencemen Kim Johnsson and Niklas Kronvall -- aren't dead yet, according to Alfredsson. "You can't tell until the tournament is played, but I think we still have a chance. We don't have the same depth as Canada, but we'll still put a good team together." ... Canada's depth is being tested with the news that defenceman Ed Jovanovski will not play in Italy as he'll be out of action until at least April with an abdominal problem. While that means Bryan McCabe will be elevated to take his place, somebody now has to fill McCabe's spot on the taxi squad. Names most often mentioned are Jay Bouwmeester, Dan Boyle, Dion Phaneuf, Scott Hannan and Chris Phillips. "Obviously, I'd love to be picked," said Phillips, who currently plans to go on a cruise during the Olympics break. "But I don't know where I am in the mix. There are a lot of guys capable of doing it, but they're putting together a team with guys who fill different roles. If it was Adam Foote or Robyn Regehr, defensive guys, maybe I'd have a better opportunity."

Starts and Stops:

After signing a seven-figure, free-agent contract here in the summer, former Senators tough guy Andre Roy is now spinning his wheels in Pittsburgh. Roy, who suffered a broken orbital bone in a fight with Colton Orr on Oct. 25 and missed 23 games, has only played in nine games since returning Dec. 16. He says he hurt his wrist in practice the day after fighting Jody Shelly twice in Columbus on Jan. 11, but "I'm ready to go now." With the Penguins, he has averaged just 3:58 of ice time per game. Said Roy: "It's tough. In Ottawa I always played on a good team and the same with Tampa (where he won a Stanley Cup). This is a young team and we're obviously struggling, we're still building, I guess." Proving he hasn't lost his trademark sense of humour, Roy added: "But wait until next year, with (super prospect Evgeni) Malkin, Crosby and Roy. It'll be good line." ... Speaking of good lines, Roy had another one when discussing the Mike Tyson painting Emery had on his mask before a change was suggested/decided on/ordered. "What's the matter with that?" asked Roy. "I have a Tonya Harding picture on my helmet."

Things That Make You Go Hmmm:

Not saying there was a prostitution problem in Pittsburgh last night, but the game's first four penalties were for hooking ... A clever Pittsburgh writer had a question for Ottawa media guys with the Penguins up 2-0: "Based on what you've seen, what do you think the Penguins biggest problem is -- Crosby or (rising star goalie) Marc-Andre Fleury? Which one should they get rid of?"

SOME THINGS WORTH NOTING...

PUNCH LINES: Something Josef Melichar did early in the second period really ticked off Chris Neil because the Senators winger busted his stick on the Pens defenceman, then continued after him trying to start a fight. Melichar refused and both players were penalized, but Neil got the extra two -- and he was serving it when Pittsburgh went ahead 2-0 on the power play.

BABY STEPS: Senators D Christoph Schubert, who was victimized when a shot went in off his foot Wednesday in the 5-3 loss at New Jersey, was a little luckier last night. Backing up on a 2-on-1, a pass hit his skate and went off Dominik Hasek's post.

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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