Oleg does his Freakin' homework

DON BRENNAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:43 AM ET

For yesterday's morning skate, Oleg "Freakin'" Saprykin donned the digits he had in Phoenix.

That would be No. 91, which has belonged to only one other player in Senators history.

"Do you know who Alexandre Daigle is?" Freakin' was asked afterward.

"No," he replied. "I never heard of him."

Okay, so he was 11 years old and living in Moscow when Daigle broke into the NHL as the first pick of the 1993 NHL draft. Freakin' musta done his homework later in the day, for when he skated on The Bank's slippery surface in his Senators debut, he was wearing No. 61.

He probably found out 91 comes with a nurse's cap.

Starts and stops:

What message does it send to the players in the dressing room when the Senators don't deal for Gary Roberts or Bill Guerin, as they should have? "The message is they're pretty confident in the squad we have," said Jason Spezza. "Obviously they like the way we're playing and they feel we'll continue to get better, that we probably didn't need any big additions." Could be, but we're more inclined to buy into the theory that a refusal to mortgage any of the future for a player who could put the team over the top has to do with the fans. As in, there's no faith that Ottawa will support the subpar team it would be left with down the road. Management should just explain that to the players ... Playing in his 600th NHL game, Chris Phillips marked the occasion by collecting an assist on Dany Heatley's first-period (second shift) goal ... It was Heatley's 38th of the season which means, you got it -- with 18 games left, he's going to wind up getting 50 again.

Hmmmmmm ... :

Okay c'mon, seriously. It's been going on long enough. Somebody has to tell John Muckler the guy's name is Comrie, not Cromrie ... At least one friend will be disappointed to hear that no, the newest Senator is not Irish. It's Oleg, not O'Leg ... And then there are those who listened to the glowing post-deadline reporters and reports and thought the Senators had just acquired Mark Messier ... Speaking of old Oilers, if it upset Ryan Smyth so much to leave, why didn't he just settle for the $5 million-plus per season Kevin Lowe was offering?

Between Periods:

D Lawrence Nycholat says he's pumped about being traded from Washington to Ottawa, even though he averaged more than 20 minutes of ice time in 18 games with the Caps. Here, he slides in to the eight spot on the defenceman depth chart. "I'm excited to contribute any way I can to a playoff team, whether it's by practising every day or by playing," he said. That statement alone earned him Employee of the Day honours ... Heading up the new Ottawa division of the Nycholat fan club is Joanne Lawrence. That would be his aunt, who lives in Gatineau ... Best think about the Barbados fan contest -- it's over. The video clips on the centre-ice scoreboard were bad enough. The live bits last night were almost enough to have some of us leaping to our deaths out of the press box ... Big save of the first period was once again made by Anton Volchenkov, who dropped to his knees to steal one away from Cory Stillman on an odd-man rush by the 'Canes.

Bottom shelf:

Carolina captain Rod Brind'Amour can be as unpredictable as he is finely tuned. When TSN's Michael Whelan caught Brind'Amour with an interview request before he slipped out the door following the morning skate, he said, "You almost escaped, Rod." Brind'Amour's response? "One day," he said. "It's always the same old stuff." Guess 30 seconds and a couple of questions can be quite the inconvenience ... Volchenkov was asked about the possibility of now rooming on the road with a fellow Russian. "Probably not," he said with a smile. "I'll keep Tony Vermette as my roommate." Who? ... The Senators survived two glaring giveaways by Wade Redden early on. The first was in his own end, the second was a turnover at the 'Canes blue line that forced Ray Emery to bail him out with a 2-on-1 stop off Andrew Ladd ... Through two periods, Saprykin had played just eight shifts totalling 5:13 of ice time. No player on either team was used less.


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