McGrattan rips referees

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

BUFFALO -- With his team struggling, Senators enforcer Brian McGrattan was already in a snarly mood.

Now, after being the victim of what he says is a double-standard by NHL referees, McGrattan's mood is even darker.

He has stitches across the bridge of his nose thanks to a dangerous hit from behind from Canadiens defenceman Mike Komisarek on Monday night, a hit that went unpenalized.

WENT BERSERK

After Komisarek slammed him into the window, McGrattan lay on the ice, stunned, for several moments before jumping to his feet and going berserk.

Linesman Steve Miller did a masterful job of wrestling McGrattan to the ice a couple of times and keeping him from causing widespread mayhem.

McGrattan said he was discussing the lack of a penalty call on Komisarek with teammate Chris Neil yesterday morning.

"That guy (Komisarek) throws cheap hits all the time. If that's me or (Neil), making that hit, it's five (minutes) and a game (misconduct), maybe a match penalty. No doubt about it," said McGrattan. "I hate how that works. If you're a tough guy, you don't get the calls. I'm used to it now."

Miller pulled McGrattan's sweater over his head and wrestled him to the ice and McGrattan should probably be thankful. He wound up with a 10-minute misconduct on the play, but if he had gotten loose and gone after Komisarek, it could have been a lot worse.

"(Miller) did a good job," said McGrattan. "He jerseyed me pretty good. I went up to him and apologized after and he was cool about it. I haven't snapped like that in a while."

Miller has a reputation for being classy and well liked by the players. Another guy in Miller's situation might have pushed for an abuse of official call.

Keep an eye on the McGrattan-Komisarek situation the next time the Habs and Senators meet Jan. 13.

OVER AND OUT: You can look at stats any way you want, but one that sticks out for me is the Senators are 0-7 this season when the opponent scores first. They are 0-6 when tied after the first period. Is that an indication of a lack of character, of being unable to battle back? Or is it just symptomatic of shoddy goaltending and a misfiring power play? Whatever way you choose to look at it, those aren't very comforting choices.

HISTORY STUDENT: Senators C Jason Spezza looks at tonight's opponent and takes some encouragement. "Buffalo was terrible to start the year off last year," said Spezza of the eventual Eastern Conference finalists. "San Jose was terrible to start the year off last year. Yes, we're upset. No, we shouldn't be in this situation. But we're not the first team to go through this. It's happened to good teams in the past. Obviously, we can't let this slip to the point we're no longer a contending team. We're four games under .500. That's one winning streak from .500, but it has to be done now." The way things are going, Senators fans would take one win in a row right now.

ANYBODY GOT THE OLYMPIQUES NUMBER?: Senators coach Bryan Murray was asked yesterday if there is a sense of impatience among upper management. "I haven't been approached," said Murray. "I can't really comment beyond that. But I know I'm impatient. I'm frustrated. I'm disappointed. I want to win very badly. I came to Ottawa for one reason and that's to be involved with a good hockey team."

NO SPLIT: Murray shook up his lines yesterday and considered splitting up Spezza and Dany Heatley, whose union always survives this kind of shakeup. Such was the case again yesterday though they combined for just one shot and were a combined -6 Monday against the Canadiens. "When you're doing lines overnight after a game like that, you do lots of stuff as far as juggling," said Murray. "They've played together so much since Dany came here. It's difficult in a crisis situation to do things that really abnormal. The best thing to do is let them play together."

HEAR AND THERE: When a team is struggling like the Senators, they can't go anywhere without hearing rumours which seem to be just thrown out there with no basis. On the all-sports station here yesterday afternoon, one guy was saying he's heard Senators GM John Muckler will be fired with Murray replacing him and "a coach maybe coming from the minors." You heard it there first.


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