Heater steps up to plate

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

When Dany Heatley left the rink yesterday morning, he was swinging a souvenir he jokingly referred to as his new "security system."

In fact, it was a baseball bat personally signed by Gregg Zaun, the Blue Jays backup catcher who gave the lumber, an autograph and all his best wishes to the Senators star winger after Heatley took in a Grapefruit League ball game during an off day in Florida last week.

Heatley, a catcher while playing baseball as a kid in Western Canada, once again proved he wields a pretty mean stick himself last night.

Just past the four-minute mark of the third period, he nailed a fastball, goalmouth pass from Jason Spezza into the back of the mesh behind John Grahame.

Heatley's 38th goal of the season made it 3-3 as the Senators rolled on to a 4-3 victory over Tampa Bay.

It also had to give Senators supporters another sense of their own security -- a reminder that Heatley provides this team with a fresh, new hope as it approaches the only part of the season that really matters.

Starts and Stops:

Thank Mike Fisher for that extra couple of bucks you had to pay the babysitter last night. Early in the second period, Fisher hit Darryl Sydor so significantly that he actually broke a section of the end boards. Play was interrupted for about 10 minutes while crowbar-carrying rink attendants made the repairs. "I guess it was pretty hard," Fisher said of the hit. "I was just finishing my check. But no, I don't think I've ever seen the boards break before." Neither have we .... About 30 seconds after played resumed, Fisher was given a questionable hooking penalty. Methinks it was more a delayed, delay-of-game call ... More than a few people who were minding their own business couldn't help but overhear Lightning coach John Tortorella tear a strip off Grahame following the game. Interestingly, the witnesses say Grahame was giving it right back. Activate Sean Burke in your hockey pool if you have him.

Between Periods:

As three wise men of the media took in yesterday morning's skate, it dawned on us that in acquiring Tyler Arnason, the Senators simply brought back former centre Todd White. At least the two appear to be close to being the same player, give or take a couple of years and inches. "I don't know Todd White well," Bryan Murray said when presented the comparison, "but in his first two games with us Arnason looks to be a real good playmaker who has a real quick stick. And each game, he's had one good scoring chance." ... Arnason had the first decent opportunity in a game that saw plenty of them last night when, just 100 seconds after the opening puck drop, he combined with captain Daniel Alfredsson on a give-and-go deep in Tampa territory. Grahame was in good position to make the save ... In his Scotiabank Place debut as the seventh player to wear a No. 10 Senators jersey (Darcy Loewen, Rob Gaudreau, Andreas Dackell, Toni Dahlman, Peter Bondra and Brandon Bochenski are the others), Arnason remained mostly with linemates Bryan Smolinski and Alfredsson and had a couple of chances in close. He wound up playing 14:04, was pointless, a minus-1, had two shots on net and registered zero hits. The latter statistic is no surprise, given the fact he only recorded a head-scratching four hits in 60 games with the Blackhawks. "Todd might be faster up and down the ice and Tyler might be quicker in tight areas," Murray had said. "I'm not sure which is more willing to battle in traffic ... I think that was a rap against Todd, but I'm not sure. Neither one is going to hit anybody. That's not their game at all."

Things That Make You Go Hmmm...:

Alfredsson has tied Radek Bonk for most games played in a Senators uniform. Both have suited up for 689 ... Andrej Meszaros' sixth goal with 15 seconds left in the second period came on a harmless looking shot that took a weird hop by Grahame. "I just put it on net and it bounced," said Meszaros. "I don't know what happened." ... Referee Chris Lee was the target of many a boo from Senators. First, when he called a ridiculous holding penalty on Alfredsson (that caused the captain to take two more minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct), and then when he vigorously waved off a Chris Kelly goal that replays showed was batted into the net with a high stick ... About the penalty to Alfredsson, Murray said: "I asked Paul Devorski what Daniel Alfredsson had to do to not get a penalty there. He had perfect body position (on Martin St. Louis) and he rode him off, then he gets a penalty. Devorski said, 'Bryan, I have to plead the fifth on that one,' whatever that means." What that means is Devorski wasn't about to hang his partner out to dry ... Two reasons for Senators fans to hope last night's game was a first-round playoff preview: A) It was an exciting, fun one to watch and B) The Bolts have one win and 13 losses to show for their last 14 visits to the nation's capital. But admit it Ottawa, if you can't have the Leafs in Round 1, what you really want is the Habs.


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