Adductor in Dom's head?

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

Canadiens 5, Senators 3 --- Asked about Dominik Hasek's health after yesterday's morning skate, Bryan Murray initially deflected the discussion clear of the goalie's tender zone.

"Well, he's got a sore throat today," offered the Senators coach.

Fact is, there's a pro athlete out there who suggests the adductor muscle is connected to the head -- or, at least, that getting over a strain of said muscle is putting mind over matter.

"For the most part, it's just mentally getting over the hurdle, trusting it, being able to go out and put it in the back of my mind to where I'm not worrying about it," White Sox outfielder Scott Podsednik told the Chicago Sun-Times last Sunday.

Podsednik, one of the top base stealers in major league baseball, went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained adductor Aug. 15, 2005. Upon his return, he was nowhere near the same player that swiped 47 bags in his first 75 games.

When Podsednik had two steals in a Sept. 28 game against the Tigers, they were his first two since Sept. 5. That's like Barry Bonds going three weeks without a homer --or three days without a walk.

Podsednik did participate in the team's World Series run through to November -- he even hit a key, albeit rare, dinger -- but was still not the same threat as he had been on the base paths.

Five months later it is the first week of the MLB season, and an adductor strain is giving Podsednik problems again.

Meanwhile, the NHL world waits to see if Hasek can return from his adductor strain and steal some wins for the Senators in their run at a championship.

Possible he has to win a battle in his head, first.

Starts and Stops:

Call-up D Brad Norton now has the distinction of being involved in the worst fight in Senators history. Hands down. After yet another goal by Montreal's Chris Higgins, Norton tripped and challenged Habs tough guy Aaron Downey. The two gladiators dropped their gloves, put their dukes up, posed and postured for 20 seconds, at least. But not a punch was thrown -- nor a fist drawn back -- before linesmen mercifully stepped in. Norton and Downey were given 10-minute misconducts, but they really should have been ejected for embarrassing the game ... Speaking of disgraceful, the announcement that Dany Heatley had just set a new Senators' single-season record with his 46th goal was greeted by a casual, quiet applause. If that accomplishment doesn't warrant a standing ovation, what does? ... The crowd was more enthusiastic when Guy Lafleur was shown to be in attendance on the videoboard. The sight of the former Hab great generated a cheer and a "Guy, Guy, Guy" chant ... Yes, too many Montreal fans were permitted in the building once again. Even the players noticed. "This is supposed to be our building," Bryan Smolinski said in an interview on the Team 1200 during the second intermission, "and all we see is (Habs) white, when it's supposed to be red." Later, Jason Spezza told Cheapseats: "We've got to win some games in the playoffs and convert those people."

Between Periods:

Given all the life-size cardboard cutouts that have popped up in local convenient stores lately, we have decided on a new nickname for Mike Fisher -- The Coca-Cola Kid ... "Ottawa and our goalie played in the first period," Habs coach Bob Gainey said last night. "The rest of our team joined in for the last two." .... When it was pointed out to David Aebischer that, along with his 44 saves, two Senators (including Call Up Of The Day Tomas Malec) hit the post, the Montreal goalie laughed and said: "Yeah, but I would have had them."

Things That Make You Go Hmmm:

Wonder how many of his 47 goals has Heatley scored from within a stick length of the goalie's left post -- including the two last night? Twenty maybe? More? ... To put things in perspective, the Senators' 53-game winning streak when they had scored four or more that came to an end in Buffalo on Wednesday was the third longest such streak in NHL history .... Rough game? Hell, yeah. It was the first time I (or probably any other pressbox sitter) ever suffered a paper cut on the nose from the Senators media notes ... Murray doesn't think he ever sent another one of his players over the boards for 36 shifts and 37:47 of ice time like he did with rookie D Andrej Meszaros in Buffalo on Wednesday. "I had (Hall of Famer) Rod Langway (in Washington) and I don't remember doing it with him," said Murray. "That's too much, and we know that." Meszaros "only" played 27 shifts and 25:02 against the Habs. "It was better, we had six defenceman (as opposed to five in Buffalo). I feel not bad. We've got basically three new guys in the back," he added. "It's not an excuse but we have to play like a team and help each other out." ... Biggest turnaround of the season -- the $7 pre-game meal served media, team and NHL brass at Scotiabank Place was easily the worst in the league until a couple of weeks ago. Suddenly, it has become quite good.

At The Buzzer:

Think the Habs had some added motivation from their previous visit here, when they were blanked 3-0 and held to 12 shots on goal, prompting Hasek to declare it the easiest shutout of his life? "You never forget a comment like that," said Montreal D Craig Rivet. Added F Mike Ribeiro: "For sure, they don't have their A-team right now. But last time here, it was the same for us." ... Heatley's second goal gives him a team-record 95 points this season. There's the announcement. There's another polite and conservative round of applause. To steal a Lindy Ruff quote, that's a joke ... Once again, Antoine Vermette had the most success in the faceoff circles, winning 10-of-15 draws.

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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