Two of the most popular players in Senators history renewed acquaintances at The Bank last night, four years after one of them last played for the home team and only what seems like that long since the other did.
Andre Roy and Wade Redden chummed around together when they were teammates, and it's long been rumoured their friendship was at least part of the reason Roy was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2002 after almost three full seasons of being Ottawa's resident tough guy and Good Humour Man.
Surely, it had to be something, right? The Senators could not have really, truly believed they were improving their actual roster by adding Juha Ylonen in a one-for-one swap. C'mon.
Roy acknowledges that perhaps his, um, fun-loving personality was a little toom much for then-coach Jacques Martin. He even says (jokingly, we think) that yes, maybe he was caught streaking the streets of Ottawa.
But he also seriously denies ever being a bad influence on Redden.
"I heard that I was draggin' him around to do stuff he didn't want to do," Roy said after yesterday's morning skate. "That's not true. I hung with him, I made him laugh, but we never did anything crazy. Ask anyone.
"I don't know who brought that out," he added, the mischievious twinkle returning to his eye. "Probably my ex-girlfriend. She wanted me out of here."
Roy was in Tampa for two years, long enough to win a Cup and make himself irresistible as a free agent to the Pittsburgh Penguins. His plans to wind up on a line with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were thwarted, however, when the Pens waived him last month.
The Bolts were more than happy to take Roy back.
"Andre gives us a little personality in the locker room," said coach John Tortorella. "And Andre can play.
"We didn't want to lose Andre, but we weren't going to pay him $1 million a year for three years ... it was not within our budget.
"Eventually, he's going to get more ice time, but he needs to be in better shape," Tortorella added, referring to the fact Roy played in only five games with Pittsburgh this season. "Eventually, he's going to be a big part of this club."
Roy had visions of returning to the Senators, before and during the time the Penguins were trying to move him.
"I had a good time here, it was a good spot for me," he said. "I thought the fans appreciated me here. But when you're on waivers, you just hope someone picks you up. I just wanted to stay in the NHL."
Things have worked out well for him. "I'm back," he said enthusiastically "in F.L.A.!"
STARTS AND STOPS: Daniel Alfredsson found one of those seams Bryan Murray's been talking a lot about lately when he set up Dany Heatley for the 150th goal of his career in the second period. The captain also had a foot in Ottawa's second goal, knocking Dan Boyle off balance with what almost resembled a slew foot to give Antoine Vermette had an open lane to the net.
BETWEEN PERIODS: Mike Fisher guaranteed the Senators would be better last night than they were Tuesday. "We can't be worse," he said hours before taking the ice against Tampa. He also used his thumbs when pointing the blame. "It was one of the worst games of my career," he said. "Two giveaways for goals ... I can't remember playing that bad in a long time." ... As has been his custom of late, Ray Emery skipped the morning skate to give his ailing left hand a break. Suiting up in goalie gear as his replacement was Aaron Robinson, the Sens' director of fan and community development who also runs the Bell Capital Cup. "It's an honour to be asked to come out," said Robinson, who last played competitive hockey with the Markham District high school team. "You try to put your body in front of the puck, and if they want you to stop it, you stop it." .... You're probably thinking Robinson could have stopped that Ruslan Fedotenko shot that beat Emery in the third, aren't you? Well probably not. Christoph Schubert scored on Robinson "high glove" regularly. "He figured me out early," said Robinson.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM...: Redden looked like he never missed a beat. And his chest took a pretty good test when was wrapped into the boards by Tampa's Nick Tarnasky early ... NHL hits leader Chris Neil missed what would have been a home run when he threw a shoulder just wide of Dimitry Afanasenkov inside the Lightning blue line.
BOTTOM SHELF: So, coach Tortorella, what's the biggest difference between this Senators team and the one that beat you in last spring's playoffs? "I don't comment on other teams, I have enough to worry about with my own," he said. Even their goaltending? "Nope," he said. "That's their problem."