Sens missing hot Hawk Havlat

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

A trivia question that Liam Maguire might even need seven seconds to solve was floating between non-Senator types at Scotiabank Place yesterday:

Only three players have scored 12 points in their first five games with a team to which they've been traded. Who are they?

Wayne Gretzky is an obvious answer. Joe Malone would be the tough one. Martin Havlat is the most timely and, to Senators fans, the most painful.

Havlat's early success (six goals, six assists and first place in the NHL scoring race) is a stinging reminder of what once was on a team that has been shut out twice in five games and has the league's second-worst-rated offence two weeks into the season. The Senators really miss him now.

While the majority of criticism for the pop-less attack is being directed at the Dany Heatley-Jason Spezza-Daniel Alfredsson line, there is blame to be shared.

SECOND LINE STYMIED

Like, how about a second line that is still waiting to collect its first point of the season???

Unbelievable, but true.

Alfredsson's lone goal was scored in the first game, before he, Spezza and Heatley were officially reunited, but he was on the ice with those two protecting a 3-1 lead when he slid a gift into an empty net.

Antoine Vermette, who has replaced the captain on the second line, has one assist. But he picked it up in that same game, playing with Dean McAmmond and Chris Neil on the third unit.

Mike Fisher and Peter Schaefer, the centre and left wing on the second line since camp, have yet to record a goal or assist. And they have played an average of 18:32 and 18:12 respectively, including time on the second power-play unit.

Having Havlat gave the Senators another source of offence.

Opponents couldn't focus solely on the first line. Now, they can.

"I think Mike has played pretty well," coach Bryan Murray said in Fisher's defence. "I thought Saturday night his line was very effective. I think Mike knows he's going to score goals, that he has to score goals for us. I don't think (his elevation to second-line centre) has been a big adjustment for him."

Murray's message to Schaefer is the same as it was last year: Don't be so unselfish. In five games, he has just four shots on goal.

"I mentioned to Peter yesterday that Marty Havlat wasn't here anymore, and that he could maybe shoot the puck," Murray said, referring to Schaefer's previous preference of setting up his old Czech linemate. "He's got a great shot.

"I think the biggest thing with Peter is that we've somehow got to convince him that shooting the puck, making the goaltender make a stop, is important. I think he can potentially score a lot of goals for us."

Schaefer, who had his best offensive season when he scored 20 in 2005-06, says he's not feeling extra pressure from the $8.4-million, four- year contract extension he signed in the off-season.

"I definitely want to pull my own weight. It's normal to not want to let anyone down," he said. "(The contract) is a little stability. Hopefully I can be more relaxed and have more fun out there.

"I'm not trying to put any pressure on myself."

But he also knows he has offensive duties to fulfill, as

"A lot of guys have to break the goose eggs," Schaefer said. "But it'll come."

Fisher scored about three beauties at yesterday's practice, using his speed and quick release. He also had the winning shootout goal in Montreal Saturday that could be the slump-buster he needed.

CAN PLAY BETTER

"I hope so," he said. "It's not for lack of shots or chances, but I still think I can play much better. I have to be better for sure. I know that it'll come.

"When (the first line) is not scoring, other lines on good teams fill in and score goals and we haven't done it. That's what has made things tough. We have a job to shut down other lines, but our other job is to score and we haven't. It's frustrating, but it's a time to learn. A time to work harder and get better."

ICE CHIPS: G Martin Gerber was wearing all-new equipment yesterday. Talk is the brand he had been using, while looking good, was too springy and therefore making it difficult for him to keep rebounds close ... A few hearts beat a little faster when Chris Phillips limped off the ice after taking a taking a Joe Corvo shot in the foot at yesterday's practice, but he returned a couple of minutes later ... At Senators practice yesterday was the under-18 Israeli team coached by former Habs bench boss Jean Perron.


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