Heatley's grin is finally full

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:00 AM ET

Dany Heatley's game has had more bite to it lately.

So, too, unfortunately, does his smile.

The Senators winger has had the character-giving gap in his smile filled in by a replacement tooth.

"Four years was long enough," said Heatley yesterday as he did his first round of interviews with his new chopper snuggled into the front left of his grin.

The tooth doesn't take a place on a shelf for games as it's part of a "little bridge," said Heatley, "but if I take a good enough shot, it'll come out."

Heatley has been without his left front tooth since his teammate with the Atlanta Thrashers, J.P Vigier, accidentally knocked it out in Heatley's rookie training camp.

That must have been one of the first few times Heatley was on the ice without full facial protection given that after his minor hockey days, he played Tier II hockey in Alberta, then went to the University of Wisconsin, where players wear full cages.

Heatley's gap-toothed smile was one of his charms, an old-school look that spoke of a time when nothing said a lot.

Senators defenceman Chris Phillips, in an interview with the Sun's Bruce Garrioch for a piece on Heatley, said Heatley's version of MySpace really did give a window -- though a very small one -- into what he was all about.

"I used to see him on television in Atlanta and I'd be sitting there with my wife, Erin, and she'd look at him and say, 'Why doesn't he get his tooth fixed? He really should have a tooth in there,' " said Phillips, who has roomed with Heatley on the road.

"But once you get to know Dany Heatley and you see what he is all about, you realize that missing tooth represents him. That's just the kind of guy he is. There's nothing phony about him. That tooth kind of sums him up ... what you see is what you get."

Now you just get a little more. Heatley's decision to fill in his credibility gap was met with a touch of sadness by Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.

"I'm disappointed he didn't put in a gold tooth," said Alfredsson, "or at least put a diamond in there ... nothing."

HEAR AND THERE: There was a mixture of cheers and boos when former Senator Zdeno Chara was announced as one of the Bruins starters last night. It turned to full-fledged boos every time he touched the puck in the game. When a guy plays more than half the game and touches the puck as much as Chara does, that's got to get tiresome ... The Senators' fourth line played about 87 seconds in the first period, which is exactly 87 seconds more than they played in all of Saturday night's game against the Buffalo Sabres when their skates didn't touch the ice.

REVELATIONS: The Senators were 23-5-2 to start last season as of Dec. 17, 2005. Since then -- including the playoffs -- they are a very middling 41-38-8 in the last calendar year. In truth, they have won just 41 of 86 games. Adjust your expectations accordingly ... A puck went over the boards by the Senators bench in the second period. It beat backup goaltender Martin Gerber over the right shoulder, but it looked like he was screened.

SPECULATIONS: The Senators didn't have star D Wade Redden last night and he wasn't sure yesterday if he would be able to play tomorrow night against the Lightning. Redden missed his ninth game last night with a sore chest/shoulder. "It's still sore in certain positions, for sure," said Redden, who tested it in some contact drills yesterday. As far as tomorrow night goes? "I don't want to say either way."

JUST WONDERING: With the score 3-0 for the B's after the first period, some workers came out and affixed a new ad to the boards in front of the Boston bench. The way things were going, it would have been more fitting to put it on the front of the bench of the offensively impotent Senators. It was for Viagra.

PARTING SHOT: There was some excellent penalty killing by the Senators in the first period as they held the puck, waiting for the Bruins to make a move. Unfortunately, it was the Bruins' penalty the Senators were killing ... Don't know who the female voice belonged to late in the second period, but she pretty much spoke for Senators fans: "Wake UP!" she screamed, clear as a bell.


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