Defenceman Andrej's a giant

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

The first was a softy that slipped past sticks and legs and finally a Shooter Tutor in from Montreal by the name of David Aebischer.

There was no denying the quality of the second Andrej Meszaros goal last night, however. It was a big-time, unscreened blast from the point that may have left Aebischer, the Habs goalie, with a little wind burn.

In ponderings on which of Joe Corvo or Tom Preissing is going to eat up power-play time left available by the departure of Zdeno Chara, mostly overlooked has been the possibility it could be Meszaros.

The Slovakian sophomore is already stepping into Chara's regular turn, Top 4 spot on the Senators blue line alongside Chris Phillips.

His two goals in last night's 5-2 pre-season win over the Canadiens should serve as a reminder he is a capable candidate to handle power- play point time -- and that he is the team's quarterback of the future.

"He's been terrific the last couple of games," coach Bryan Murray said of Meszaros last night. "Early on (in camp), like a couple of veterans, he wasn't as sharp. But tonight was his best game. He was moving the puck, shooting it ... he was a very productive player."

Now about that boomer .... whatever it is he did in the off-season, Meszaros looks like he might be ready to replace Chara as owner of the team's hardest shot at this season's skills contest.

"I was just working out in the gym, trying to get bigger," Meszaros said after being named the game's first star and before being asked about trying to at least partially fill big shoes left lying around by his countryman. "Replacing Zdeno is really hard. I'm just trying to do my best. The key on the power play is to hit the net. That's what the coach wants. That's what I'm trying to do."

He succeeded last night. In fact, he almost put one through it.

STARTS AND STOPS: Captain's Corner is a new, first level concession stand at Scotiabank Place that they say boasts hot dogs similar to those served in Montreal's Bell Centre and cheesesteaks like those found in Philly. There's also a new Captain's Corner along the back wall of the Senators dressing room this year. It's Daniel Alfredsson's stall, situated between Dany Heatley's and Chris Phillips'. For the past few seasons, Alfredsson has suited up on the right side of the room. Last year his next-door-neighbours were Jason Spezza and Wade Redden. "I used to be on this side when I first came here, but Jacques (Martin) moved me," explained Alfredsson. "I like this better." Why? "I have my reasons," he said, "but I'm going to keep them to myself." ... Peter Schaefer's guess for the move? "The stench," offered Schaefer, who remains in the area Alfredsson left ...Truth is, the entire place smells like a dressing room ... Bryan Murray says Mike Fisher is less of a playmaker than a bull. But, he points out, a bull can do damage too. Fisher has now been on the ice for seven of Ottawa's last 10 goals.

BETWEEN PERIODS: Lone fight of the game saw Senators defenceman Jamie Allison go with Montreal's Garth Murray in the first. It was a lively bout, with the hardest punch appearing to be an Allison left from in close ... Defenceman Christoph Schubert, who has missed the pre-season schedule while fighting a virus, is slated to play his first game tomorrow in Montreal ... Redden was back in the lineup last night after missing a couple of days with a sore groin ... Heatley is on the cover of this year's team media guide. He's not smiling, just receiving props for after scoring one of his 50 last season. "He's celebrating a goal, but it's not the end goal," said cover designer (and Senators director, communications) Steve Keogh in a reflection of the team's mentality in 2006-07. "The end goal is something silver."

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM: After watching just two pre-season games, we offer you this: the Senators will be the only Canadian team in the Eastern Conference to qualify for the playoffs .... Jason Spezza was inches from giving the Senators six goals through two periods when he dinged a shot off the post on a semi-breakaway ... Shaun Van Allen couldn't help but notice the slick look his former post-game call-in show partner had at yesterday's morning skate, a day after the two had golfed together at Cedar Hill. "I think Steve Lloyd's hair is about a 13 on the stimp metre today," chided Vanner ... Spezza was dominant in faceoff circles last night, winning 10 of 12 draws. Rookie Alexei Kaigorodov won just two of nine ... Chris Neil led the Senators with six hits. Only one other player -- Patrick Eaves -- had as many as two.

OFF THE POST: We asked Martin Gerber at the morning skate if there were still parts of his game he wanted to work on and improve before the regular season. "There are things," he said. "But I'm not going to tell them." ... Radek Bonk was invisible last night. No, that's not another knock on the former Senator. Bonk was a Habs scratch.


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