Comrie gamble could pay off for Sens

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

Mike Comrie didn't take long to get his first point with the Senators.

It took the newest Senator less time to make a point with the fans, going around a Buffalo Sabre with a beautiful move and creating a scoring chance early in the second period last night.

Comrie got on the scoresheet later in the second, drawing an assist on a goal by Tom Preissing to make it 4-0.

As Comrie showed last night, he can be a dangerous offensive player. The intrigue lies in whether he will decide to be such a player on a regular basis.

The Comrie gamble is a big one for the Senators. His arrival and what's left on his $3-million US salary means the team has made its big play now. There is little if any room to make a move closer to the trade deadline at the end of next month.

"We've knocked ourselves out of the highrollers club," said GM John Muckler.

Importantly for now, Muckler didn't have to give anything up off his current roster to add Comrie to the mix.

Now it's up to Comrie.

He's just 26 years old and he's already in his fourth NHL organization.

That's not a good trend.

That sends up some red flags, of course. Young players with Comrie's talent don't get moved around like that unless there are issues.

But Comrie has a chance to change that.

A strong second half to this season for the centre will make him and everyone at the Senators' end of the deal look good and could create a good market for him as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

To cap it all off, this deal has the potential to have an interesting twist and refurbish some of Muckler's reputation in trades.

The Senators got Comrie, potentially their second-line centre who last night debuted alongside Chris Neil and Peter Schaefer, for Alexei Kaigorodov, the guy who was supposed to get the job and didn't figure in the Senators' future.

Something for nothing?

That's the way this could turn out.

HEAR AND THERE: Dany Heatley's game has grown beautifully lately. The Senators sniper was killing a penalty in the second period when he gestured to the bench to go off, but wound up close to the puck carrier. He chased him into the Ottawa zone, the puck got turned over and Heatley wound up scoring, batting the puck in out of mid-air. What a shift ... There was a scrum in the first period and it looked like Senators D Joe Corvo was beating himself up.

THE BUZZ: TSN's Chris Cuthbert and Glenn Healy called last night's game from between the players' benches, the third game they've done like that. Cuthbert said no pucks have come close to hitting them yet, looking for some wood to knock. At least he had some glass to his left last night and Healy, the former goaltender, to his right. That's pretty good protection, right? "If I have to count on Healy making a save," deadpanned Cuthbert, "what are my odds?" ... The Coyotes are going to leave Kaigorodov in Russia for the rest of this season. "Our understanding is he has every desire and intention to come back and try to compete in the best league in the world," said Coyotes GM Mike Barnett. "We're fine with him remaining in Russia for the rest of this year." ... Muckler said he had heard there was another Ontario team that put in a claim for centre Petr Nedved when he was on waivers. "I think there was some hanky-panky there. They didn't want him to come to the Senators," said the GM.

LEMME SAY THIS ABOUT THAT: One of the good things about covering a Senators-Sabres game? Having Sabres legendary play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret calling the game right behind you. It's like he's doing it for you personally...Heatley just scored his second goal of the game, getting just enough of the puck to put it behind Sabres G Ryan Miller to make it 2-0. So, that's two shots, one batted out of the air and the other fluttering in. Earlier in the period, Heatley got all of it, a real sizzler from the wing, that Miller made a nice glove save on. Funny how it goes...

REVELATIONS: Senators G Ray Emery got his Christmas gift: A three-foot ball python from his parents. It would seem to be a good pet for somebody who has to spend as much time on the road as he does. The snake only eats once a week. They are called ball pythons because when they're threatened they wrap around their head in a ball. They can live up to 50 years. It doesn't have a name yet, but somebody suggested yesterday he call it Mike Tyson.

SPECULATIONS: Heatley just swatted home his third of the night, banging in a rebound after D Wade Redden rang one off the post. It was a very strong showing by the Ottawa fans, too. Usually slow to give up their head wear, they fired at least a couple of dozen hats onto the ice. It would have been even more, but a few got snared by the protective nets at each end of the rink. Nicely done, Ottawa fans.


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