Good old-fashioned night of hard hitting

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

During what is the best time of the year for major league baseball, a real fall classic was produced last night at Scotiabank Place.

To pitchers in the crowd, it would have been a nightmare.

The hitting never stopped.

The bomb of the night in a far-too-rare meeting of the Senators and Flames was delivered by "Neon" Dion "Lights Out" Phaneuf, Calgary's outstanding second- year defenceman.

The classic fall was performed by Senators winger Denis Hamel, whose skates reached seven feet above ice when he was belted by Phaneuf just inside the Flames blue line near the end of the second period.

The tremendous shot, which everyone will be talking about today, left the crowd abuzz.

"I'm still alive," Hamel shrugged later.

"It's just part of the game."

Especially part of Phaneuf's game.

"I don't know if it was the biggest hit of my career," he started in response to a question.

"It's my job to play a physical style, I have to play that way to be effective. If the opportunity is there, I take it. But I don't want to put myself out of position to do it either."

Chris Neil, who had a solid night knocking a few guys around himself, had a few words with Phaneuf after the hit. Hamel did, too. They really had nothing to beef about, though. It was a clean shot.

"I didn't really see it," said Neil, who led all players with six hits, one more than Phaneuf. "I just had to let him know he can't be running around. He was running around a little earlier."

Now here's where the Senators struck out:

In preparation of a scoreboard video presentation featuring the second period's highlights that lasted about 30 seconds long, the Phaneuf bodycheck wound up on the cutting room floor.

The highlight of the season so far, it did not qualify among the best moments of the period.

Didn't make it to the "Highlights of the Game" during a third period stoppage, either.

Clearly, the Senators did not want to show a play that left one of their own on his back.

It was a poor call and, judging by yet another buzz, the fans thought so too.

STARTS AND STOPS: While kicking aside 27 pucks, Ray Emery provided the Senators with something they haven't had at home yet. Solid goaltending. How refreshing ... How would a Calgary-Ottawa Stanley Cup final suit you, hockey world? .... In Calgary, the Flames' defensive pairing of Phaneuf and Robyn Regehr are referred to as Splatman and Robyn. Now you know why ... Guess it just took a visit from the Flames to get things heating up at The Bank, as there was more excitement in the first two minutes last night than in all but five of the initial 120 played here previously this season. Included in the attention grabbing start that saw Andrej Meszaros hit a crossbar, Emery stop a 2-on-1 and Daniel Alfredsson deke Miikka Kiprusoff to the ice but fail to get all the way past him and sink a shot into an open net ... About all that hitting -- sure don't remember much of it in games against division rival Leafs and Sabres, do you? ... Alfredsson and Meszaros also both had good chances in the last seconds of the first, then consoled/congratulated each other when they skated over to tap it each other on the shin pads at the buzzer ... The only thing that getting by Kiprusoff on this night was Roman Hamrlik, who slid through his goalie and into the cage after making a strong defensive play on Neil in the third.

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO ... HUH?: A little fuel for Leafs fans this morning. Nine nights into this NHL season, the truly despised Darcy "Mother" Tucker has more goals than Dany Heatley, Peter Schaefer, Antoine Vermette, Mike Fisher, Wade Redden, Chris Phillips, Meszaros, Hamel, Brian McGrattan, Chris Kelly, Anton Volchenkov, Tom Preissing, Alfredsson, Dean McAmmond and Patrick Eaves, COMBINED. You're welcome .... Russian rookie Alexei Kaigorodov looked good last night. You wondered on what line the highly-touted prospect played? Against the Flames, he was Dean Brown's left winger, sitting a pressbox wall away from the Senators play-by-play man. But Kaigorodov was wearing a good suit ... The new Lip Fusion Kiss Cam zeroed in on a guy who was more interested in keeping his locked on his beer than his wife - at least until the crowd got on him ... The segment ended at the Flames bench, where Jamie Lundmark and Darren McCarty refused to take part in any reindeer games ... The Newlywed Game hosted by Kathy during a stop in play featured a nice couple which has been married for 19 years.

BETWEEN PERIODS: Bryan Murray's centre rotation during a second period power play was Jason Spezza-then McAmmond-then Spezza again. Guess he too realizes that his second line pivot -- Fisher -- has no goals and no assists to go along with his no penalty minutes through now four games .... Staal's first NHL goal last night would figure to further hinder the chances of Vince Malette seeing him back in a Peterborough Petes jersey this season ... If the real Preissing has already stood up, somebody's got some 'splainin to do, Lucy.

END TO END: On a bright note, Spezza was an wicked 14-2 in the faceoff circles ... Fisher and Jarome Iginla each had a game high six shots on goal ... Another 0h-fer night on the power play left Alfredsson shaking his head. "We had our chances and we couldn't get it done," he said ... Dissatisfied with his team's start, Flames coach Jim Playfair allowed only one puck on the ice for a practice that exceeded an hour earlier this week. Apparently, the messages he delivered during that session struck home.


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